Health Benefits of the Boating Lifestyle
We all know a greener lifestyle is good for our health, but what about a bluer lifestyle? It turns out that living the boating life can lead to better physical and mental health.
Most boaters would tell you that being out on blue waters under blue skies makes them feel better, but medical research and psychological studies also back them up. Here are some ways the boating lifestyle benefits your health.
Getting Plenty of Sunlight
The body needs UV rays from the sun to create vitamin D, essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. While we spend much of our time indoors (work, home, et al.), a day out on the boat in the sunlight is good for you.
We all know too much sun is bad for your skin, but sunlight in moderation is recommended. It doesn’t have to come from boating on a typical hot summer day either. A cloudy day can produce beneficial UV rays that easily penetrate clouds, so just being outdoors in natural light for several hours does wonders for your body. Sunlight also stimulates the body’s production of serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes our moods and gives us feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Breathing Fresh Air
You know fresh air is good for you, especially if you grew up with parents who kept telling you to get out from in front of the TV and go outside and play.
Indoor air contains dust and allergens, while the outdoor air in populous cities contains poisonous particulates and carbon monoxide from vehicle tailpipes and other air pollutants. The air around coastlines, lakes and rivers tends to be a lot less polluted than the air you breathe in a city full of cars or from an air-conditioned environment. Fresh natural air is great for your lungs and your overall wellbeing. Even salty sea air is negatively ionized, which is believed to help reduce stress, so boating inshore or offshore benefits your health either way.
Having Fun While Exercising
Heart health is a major issue for sedentary lifestyles, and boating is anything but sedentary. While sitting on a boat for the day might not sound very energetic, including physical activities on your trip can give your body a nice little cardio workout.
For those who really want to get their hearts pumping, waterskiing or wakeboarding should do the trick. And for a lower impact workout, simply jump off the boat and enjoy a bit of swimming or snorkeling. If you prefer exercising on dry land, find a nature trail accessible by boat. Moor there for a couple of hours and take an invigorating stroll in Mother Nature’s backyard. Speaking of Mother Nature...
Getting Back to Nature
Reconnect with Mother Nature through boating, as spending time in the great outdoors has a calming effect on a person’s state of mind. Getting back to nature brings the feeling of freedom you get on a boat, with the scenery to match. Taking a boat trip through a nature preserve certainly helps reinvigorate a soul worn down by the pressures of the daily grind.
Escaping the Online World
Studies have shown that constant online exposure can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. Nobody can argue that we’ve become a society of “phone zombies”. The never-ending need to update our social media presence on the likes of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, to name a few can induce stress, anxiety and depression. You should take pictures of your boating trips and share them on your social media platforms … when you get home. But also put down the damn phone while you’re boating and enjoy what’s around you! You’d be surprised how great it feels to be out of range of a cell tower, unable to check your social media every few minutes.
Spending Quality Time with Family & Friends
Few things in life are as important as the social wellness we get from being around family and friends. It’s no secret that socializing is beneficial to our mental health. However, sometimes in today’s fractured social climate, it’s hard to find the time to be with family or friends. Spending a day together on a boat reaffirms social bonds with the people we love and appreciate.
Engaging the Brain
Despite the relaxation boating brings, it also stimulates parts of the brain in ways that everyday life doesn’t. Operating a boat is a responsibility that requires focus and diligence. Using your mental acuity to navigate waves, currents and waterways stirs the mental faculties and engages your brain.
So there you have it, the boating lifestyle is beneficial to both your mental and physical health. If you’re already a boater, you’ll likely be one for life. For those of you who are new to the boating lifestyle, welcome aboard!