May is mental health awareness month and as we slowly start to dig our way out of a worldwide pandemic, most of us can vouch for the toll it has taken mentally.
In fact, over 30% of youth and 4 in 10 adults have shared that they have dealt with depression over the last year. And over 85% of parents reported changes in their children’s emotions and behaviors during the quarantine
Surfers have always claimed the benefits of being in the water. And surfing may just be the answer of digging ourselves out of the gloom and being renewing our positive mental attitude.
We all know that physical activity is beneficial when it comes to preventing things like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma. But you may not have known that physical activity is also linked to improvements in mental health?
Surfing & Health
Surfing as a therapy has been around for decades, and surfing therapy has been used on both kids with physical and mental disabilities and on combat veterans with PTSD and depression. Surfing can help to reduce negative mood states, such as anger and depression, and energy levels. Since action sports include an element of risk, they are performed in changing environments, they are of high intensity, and they require physical and mental commitment. This increases confidence in participants and increases our natural resiliency.
Plus, salt water itself have amazing healing affects both physically and mentally. Getting in the salt water is simply good for your mood. It stimulates our body and promotes the feeling of well-being that surfers very well know. And the physical benefits are amazing….
We all know when we feel good physically that our mental health also increases.
So, what does sea water contain?
On average, sea water has 3.5% of salt (or sodium chloride). It also contains small parts of magnesium, sulfate, and calcium.
Skin care has long used marine-based products made from algae, marine salt, mud, seaweed, and ocean water to eliminate skin problems. The mineral salts team up with the sun to regenerate your skin. Saltwater can help ulcers, lupus, acne, psoriasis and more because of it’s sodium and iodine content.
Sea water also strengthens our immune system (something we all can use in a pandemic). Did you know that the number of red blood cells increases between five to 20 percent after a swim in the ocean? The number of white blood cells increases even more. This helps with weakened immune systems, anemia, and high blood sugar levels. And, Salt water helps eliminate toxins and other elements that attack the lungs helping those that deal with asthma, phlegm, or any respiratory problem. Plus, the ingestion of small amounts of ocean water facilitates the cleansing of the colon, detoxifies the body, and renews the body's energies. To top it off, ccean water accelerates the process of cell regeneration
Because it contains magnesium, sea water will also help calm you down. We know a quick walk on the beach and a good dose of salty air can help after a stressful day. But the magnesium from the has medicinal properties that actually reduce stress levels. It helps normalize blood pressure and treats nervousness.
With the ongoing stress of the fear, isolation and uncertainty that we all have experienced the last year, a day of surf can be the perfect medicine that we all need.
If you are struggling with mental illness there are a ton of free resources available:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273 TALK
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741
Samaritans USA : samaritansusa.org/
Trevor Project for LGBTQIA+: thetrevorproject.org/
NAMI 800-950-NAMI or in a crisis text “NAMI” to 741741
Get Out and Surf