Surfing may seem simple on the surface- standing on a flat board and riding the waves- but it is an exciting and incredibly challenging sport, and you need to take precautions as the sea is an unpredictable mistress. What’s even better, this watersport can benefit the mind and body in numerous ways.

Dr. Raymond Malapero has been an avid surfer and body boarder for years. He noticed that he felt remarkably better both physically and mentally on the days he spent on the water. This prompted him to start looking into the science behind the benefits of surfing and body boarding.

“The rush of serotonin would mimic the rush of the waves when I was out there. I have noticed a significant improvement in my health since surfing and body boarding regularly. “

It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that requires you to work your entire body. You use the upper body to paddle and wade through the water while the lower body guides the board through the powerful waves. Surfing adds value to your life by helping you maintain a healthy mental state and a positive attitude towards life.

Bodyboarding is another thrilling watersport that will help improve your muscular performance and coordination skills. While many consider it an easier alternative to surfing, it can be as challenging as surfing. Bodyboarding involves much more moves and skills than surfing as you rise above the beginner levels.

A bodyboard is a rectangular piece of foam, shorter than a surfboard, and you ride it while lying down. However, experienced boarders can ride it while half-standing or in a full-stand position. It’s an exhilarating sport with numerous benefits, but you have to be careful as a beginner. 

What are The Health Benefits of Surfing?

Let’s explore some of the primary health benefits you can expect from surfing:

Cardiovascular Health

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, several studies have linked regular exercise to a significant decrease in cardiovascular mortality rate and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Surfing involves a lot of physical activity, which increases your heart rate to ensure sufficient oxygen supply and efficient muscle function. With a healthy cardiovascular system, you’ll be able to breathe easily and take on any strenuous task.

Improved Mental Health

If you need to relax your body and mind, nothing can be more effective than surfing. It is an excellent way to push your limits or simply step away from everyday tasks and ease the stress associated with such tasks.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends mindfulness as an effective technique for alleviating stress and improving mental wellbeing. Mindfulness helps you develop an awareness of what’s happening around you and inside you and know how to handle them.

The concentration and awareness required in surfing is a practical example of mindfulness, and it’s an excellent way to meditate and improve your mental health.

Strong and Toned Muscles

If you want to do a full-body workout while enjoying the freedom of being in a natural environment, look no further. Surfing is a great full-body workout that will help you strengthen your core, traps, obliques, triceps, and biceps. It also works on your pectoral, deltoids, legs, calves, rotator cuff, and lumbar muscles.

In surfing, you frequently use your arms to paddle around, making it a great workout for back, shoulder, and chest muscles. It also tones your muscles more than you would achieve from a traditional gym workout since you use your body weight.

Surfing also helps improve body flexibility and mobility, thanks to the constant twisting and turning of your body in various positions as the powerful waves toss you around.

Improved Immune System

Studies have shown that immersing yourself in cold water (commonly known as cold water therapy or cold hydrotherapy) has numerous health benefits. It stimulates your body’s natural healing ability, helping it relieve symptoms of various medical conditions.

When practiced regularly, like in surfing, cold-water therapy can provide long-lasting improvements to your circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, and immune systems, improving your overall quality of life.

Improved Sleep

Several studies have linked regular exercise and cardio workouts to improved sleep patterns, especially if you do the exercise during the day instead of closer to bedtime. The best thing about surfing is that it is fun, and you don’t feel like you are working out, so you enjoy all the benefits of a proper workout, including improved sleep while doing something you love.

What are The Health Benefits of Bodyboarding?

Bodyboarding is another effective way to improve your muscular strength while having fun in the cool ocean waters. The major health benefits include:

  • Improved muscular strength of the arms.
  • Stronger led muscles
  • Improved coordination skills
  • Healthier cardiovascular system
  • Improved mental wellbeing

It is also worth noting that the natural environments of the sea and beaches can significantly benefit our minds and body. Exposure to the sea atmosphere can help you ease the stress and tension associated with your day-to-day life, improving your overall mood and quality of sleep. The minerals present in seawater help nourish our skin and protect us against various infections.

So, are you a surfing or bodyboarding enthusiast? What other benefits have you experienced from these activities?


  • Jessica Wakeman is a journalist who focuses on women’s social, cultural and political issues. Her work has appeared in Bitch, Bust, Bustle, Glamour, Rolling Stone, The Cut, The New York Times, and numerous other publications. You can read her work here.