Sailing is a fun way in which you can get into shape, but that doesn’t mean it has to be physically demanding all the time. You can sail at different levels and start off slowly and at a pace to suit you. Sailing truly is an excellent way to improve your health.
As you can probably imagine, one of the most significant benefits of sailing is how it can improve cardiovascular fitness. Sailing at any level will require physical exertion, and this will help to strengthen heart and lungs. Also consider how the motion of the boat will require you to use core muscles more, leading to improved stability and balance.
Sailing is also great for mental health. Being out on the water is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve your overall mood. Having this sense of freedom and serenity that comes with sailing can be incredibly therapeutic, making it one of the best ways to unwind and escape from the stresses of everyday life.
But back to those health benefits: sailing does count as exercise. Because even if it’s a relatively placid day on the water, you will still be using muscles you would not typically use. Here are those sailing health benefits in full.
Sailing health benefits
1. Improved cardiovascular health
The reason why sailing can help to improve your cardiovascular health is down to the things you need to do onboard to keep the boat going. These activities will help reduce the risk of hypertension, obesity, and other heart issues.
The exercise you have to do by default when sailing can be very intense and requires a large amount of oxygen intake. This increased oxygen uptake helps to strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation, which in turn leads to better cardiovascular health.
2. Increased bone strength
You will often be sailing in sunlight, and this plays an important role in your body producing vitamin D, an essential vitamin for maintaining healthy bones. When you sail, you will be in direct sunlight, and even on an overcast day, it can still provide a health benefit.
Of course, if it’s sunny please do take the right precautions, as exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Make sure you apply sunscreen for skin protection, and wear a hat and sunglasses to mitigate the chances of headaches and eye strain.
3. Enhanced muscle strength
Sailing at any level requires physical effort. It’s about how you hoist the sails, control the boat, work with ropes and so on.
Think of all the muscles you need for sailing. All these activities involve the use of various muscle groups, including the arms, shoulders, back, and legs, which will move and strain in different ways to how they do on a normal day on land.
By regularly sailing you can strengthen these muscles and improve your muscle tone.
4. Improved flexibility and agility
When you go sailing, you will need to constantly shift and move your body, as it involves a lot of balance. By doing so, if provides a further health benefit to sailing as your flexibility and agility improves.
This shifting of weight and movement as you control the boat will help improve balance and coordination. As you pull rope and hoist you will also become more flexible.
To conclude, there are multiple health benefits to sailing. We won’t lie: it can be physically challenging at times, but very much depending on the situation. For example, if there are strong winds and rough seas, then it will need more physical effort to control the boat, while lighter winds may require more finesse and technique.
However, with good training and a gradual build-up of your body strength, these challenges will become easier over time.
If you are interested in starting to sail, please do look at our beginners lessons.
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