Sailing isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who are out of shape.
If you’re sailing, you’re pushing your body to new limits and exploring new abilities and stamina levels that you didn’t previously know were there.
We all know what being shipshape is, and after taking control of your vessel and working your absolute hardest, your personal wellbeing will fall right into that category.
These are some of the most beneficial health rewards that you receive from sailing.
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1. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Sailing is very physically demanding and involved, requiring constant dynamic movement and full-body engagement.
If you perform actions correctly on your sailboat, you’ll be working up quite a sweat.
Anything that gets your heartbeat up is considered cardio exercise, so for those moments that your entire body is engaged in sailing during direction change and sail manipulation, you’ll be effectively reducing your risk factors.
2. Mental Clarity
Not enough people are talking about how relaxing and freeing sailing truly is.
There’s a lot of physical health benefits to focus on, but mental clarity and mental health are something that often get pushed to the back burner.
Filling your lungs with that open air on the sea, and physically being miles away from anything that could worry you are all relaxing things.
If you’ve turned the cell phone off, kept technology at bay, and you’re actually enjoying the peace and quiet, you’re working on your mental health.
In our busy nine-to-five lives, there’s nowhere you can escape to quite like the ocean.
3. Improving Muscle Performance
Sailing will take the wind out of you by the end of the day, and that’s a good thing.
That is the effect of a full-body workout that’s targeting core aspects of your health, such as deep muscle strength and caloric burn.
The main areas that will be targeted are your shoulders and back, which directly affect posture and spine health.
If your shoulders were just a little bit straighter and you stood just a little bit taller, it would make all the difference in the world. Sailing gives you that by default.
4. Reduces Eye Strain
You’re reading this on a screen right now—you turned to the internet, to technology to help find reasons to go sailing.
The blue light that is currently affecting your eye health is degrading your vision by up to 18% per year, if you fall within the very wide demographic of users that get too much exposure to computer screens, tablets and smartphones.
Take a day or two on the open water with nothing to tap on, swipe or watch, and see what happens.
You’re going to feel your stress levels drop, you’ll stop and enjoy what’s right in front of you, and you’ll be giving those peepers a break from harmful blue light.
5. Improve Focus
We’re in the era of multitasking.
If you can’t juggle complex tasks and execute them with exceptional accuracy, then you get this feeling of worthlessness.
Out on the ocean, you have a handful of things to focus on: the boat, the water, and the good friends that you may have brought along for the trip.
Multitasking is the sum of diverting your focus, but what if you channeled that all back together and focused on one thing at a time again?
Life isn’t always about your viability as an employee or a problem solver; it’s about putting your full attention on the things that matter to you in the moment that they’re happening.
6. Improve Communication and Relationships
While this may not seem like a health benefit, a study of over 270,000 adults in the United States was conducted, which resulting in the conclusion that we value relationships more than anything else, on a systematic and primal level.
We are social creatures, and the rise of social media has ironically made us all unsociable.
When you bring your friends and family along for the ride, you’re getting to communicate in a fashion that just doesn’t exist back home.
You can listen, help, inform and share in ways that the daily grind just doesn’t support. You’ll be reaping the physical health rewards of close human contact and sociability.
7. Reducing Stress
Stress is something physical, a reaction that our body has to things we don’t like, deem unhealthy, unfair, an especially unsafe.
Removing yourself from the stresses of your daily life will help you relax your body, which comes with more rewards than you may think. Stress affects your body in ways like:
- Extreme fatigue
- Constant headaches
- Poor eating habits
- Explosive anger
- Substance abuse
- Sex drive regression
Those are just some of the things that stress does to your body.
Stress is a physical reaction that can manifest itself in chest paid, heart palpitations, even elevated blood pressure, and all the associated risks that come along with them.
Truth be told, you can attribute stress to far more things in your life as you see the ripple effect of what it does.
Stress affects your health, relationships and focus (all things we’ve mentioned on this list).
Stress also suppresses your immune system, which opens you up to the risk of sickness.
Depending on how much stress you’re taking on and how you handle it, you could be perpetually ill off-and-on throughout the year until you assess and fix the cause of that stress.
It affects your mental reaction, such as using anger or panic to respond to things that you normally wouldn’t, and being short with people who are genuinely trying to help you.
Okay, I Get it, But How Does Sailing Reduce Stress?
If you take a moment to relax and genuinely try to think about all the things in your life that stress you out or cause negative reactions/emotions, you could write a book.
As a matter of fact, if you don’t think that you’re undergoing that much stress, write them all down as you think of them to look at an itemized list of your stress causes.
There’s a lot, isn’t there? There are necessary stresses in life, and while we can’t shirk our obligations, we can get a few minutes to take a deep breath by sailing.
Much like how people remove themselves from jobs that stress them out or leave toxic relationships, sailing offers you physical refuge from everything that negatively impacts your mood.
Yes, you’ll have to go back to it, but what could you do with forty-eight hours of no stress?
You could get back to doing things you enjoy, look at like from a new perspective, and prioritize what needs to be handled when you get back on land.
It’s a branch off of mental wellness: sailing is time for just you, your interests, your relaxation, and nothing can affect that while you’re out on the water.
Is Sailing a Good Workout?
Sailing can be an excellent workout if you know what you’re doing.
There are right and wrong ways to perform actions on your sailboat, and if you’re not doing things properly, then you are not engaging your body in a way that physically exerts you.
Sailing works deeper than simply lifting dumbbells at the local gym.
You will engage your core, your legs, arms and more, all of which will shred through calories and burn fat at the same time.
One of the primary health benefits that we listed comes in the form of reducing your chance for heart attack and stroke through the cardio aspects of sailing.
Is Sailing Physically Demanding?
It certainly can be.
Competitive sailing requires constant dynamic movements and full-body engagement, targeting muscles in your back and shoulders, which activate flexors in your arms and upper abdomen.
Sailing burns a lot of calories, and works out more aspects of your body than you could cover in a simple one-hour gym session.
Dinghy sailing is one of the most physically demanding forms of sailing, as it requires weight shifting in accordance with the waves, wind speed and direction.
All forms of sailing can be and often are physically demanding, but the larger the boat, the less your individual bodily actions will affect.
If you’re sailing anything under about 35 ft with minimal assistance, there is a lot more work involved.
Scale this down to 20 ft boats which will require more physical exertion, or even think about kayaking and how much of a workout that is. The bigger the boat, the less involved the engagement.
How Many Calories Does Sailing Burn?
On average, a 160 lb person can burn about 290-300 calories in one hour from sailing.
This of course means actively sailing and managing the boat the entire time. One day of full-body sailing (accounting for times of rent and inactivity) can help a person burn about 1,500 calories.
The bigger your weight, the more calories you will burn by fulfilling the same activities. Competitive sailing will always be more engaging and require more caloric usage than casual sailing.
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