Today is World Mental Health Day, organised by the charity Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk/) who “provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.” We all know that exercise is good for our body but, it can be as important to your mental health and wellbeing. So, on this day, we wanted to highlight some of the reasons we believe watersports can have a positive impact on mental and physical health.
- Mood boosting – Exercise is known for releasing endorphins (the body’s ‘feel good’ chemical produced in the brain) which can help lift your mood by producing feelings of happiness. This, combined with getting outside into fresh air and sunlight, will play a vital role in helping to lift your spirits, which could have a great impact if done regularly.
- Stress relief – Not only can exercise lift your mood, but it can also help to reduce your stress levels by relaxing the muscles and relieving tension in your body. Stress can have a negative effect on the mind and body and, since the two are so closely linked, if your body begins to feel better, your mind should too.
- Self-esteem – Partaking in any form of exercise can help improve your sense of self-worth but we believe watersports can give people a huge sense of achievement (from learning a new skill to improving in your chosen activity). Plus, it builds a stronger resilience, particularly if you’re trying something new like surfing or paddleboarding.
- Give your mind a break – Whether you’re doing an intense, adrenaline-filled activity or taking it easy with a leisurely swim, your mind will be focusing on the activity at hand, what your body/muscles need to do and your surroundings. This gives your brain a much-needed break by switching your focus.
- Increase social interaction – Watersports are also a great way to socialise or get to know like minded people. We’d recommend looking at Facebook groups as there’s almost one for every type of sport. They offer advice, meet-ups or just a community of people to talk to.
Finally, we’d like to add that while these are all great reasons to engage in watersports (or any physical activity if being in the water isn’t your thing) we strongly advise speaking out and asking for help if you are struggling.
Check out Mind’s website on all the ways to get support: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/where-to-start/