How Surfing Is Surprisingly One Of The Best Workouts There Is

by Sarah Gilligan

On Z Living’s original series Sweat The City, host Adrianne Ho tries fun, unique workouts, and one of the most recent ones was surfing. This inspired us to look deeper into the sport, and we came to find that top-to-bottom, surfing is one of the best workouts there is. 

To find out how Adrianne Ho’s surf lessons and adventures go, check out  Sweat The City. Find out where you can tune in.

Here are seven reasons why surfing is one of the best workouts out there: 

1. It’s Good For Your Heart


All of the paddling you do when you’re surfing is cardio, which has long been the pivotal exercise for maintaining and building heart health. The New York Times covered this study on surfers from New Zealand, which found that an average surfer’s heart rate can stay above 120 beats per minute during 80% of a typical session, that’s quite the workout for the old ticker. 

2. Surfing Builds Endurance


It’s cardiovascular challenges, in addition to the impact surfing has on muscles in your upper and lower body add up to make surfing one of the best endurance-builders out there. Regular surfers can build the stamina to sustain other adventurous forms of exercise—i.e. long hikes, other watersports, skiing, snowboarding, and much more. 

3. It Tones Muscles


As mentioned previously, surfing is a workout for both your upper and lower body. Paddling is arguably the hardest part of the process, but that’s because it works your shoulders and back incredibly well. Once you get up on the board, you engage your legs and core as much as possible to maintain balance—these short, intense fits can have a similar value to HIIT training, if you catch enough waves. 

Also on Z Living: This Intense Technique Could Add Years To Your Life

4. It Helps You Develop Discipline


Despite the fact that surfers get a stoney, aloof wrap, they are actually incredibly disciplined athletes. When you become committed to finding the best waves, you’ll get up at the crack of dawn, travel great lengths, and brave unfavorable conditions to get that session in. This invariably makes you better at the craft, and in turn at working out and staying in shape. 

5. Surfing Is Soothing


For all that hard work, the stereotypical “zen” that most surfers seem to embody could very well come from the calming elements of catching a wave, and just being in the ocean. The smoothness, and thrill of riding a wave gets your endorphins going, while constant sunshine just makes you happier. There’s also something to be said for having your “gym” be a gorgeous beach. The entire recipe is just good for your attitude, drive, and overall enjoyment. 

6. It Inspires Communities


Surfing is a communal activity, which makes it a good place to make fitness-friendly pals. Having someone to push you to get up in the morning and get in the water will help you stay consistently active, and in shape. Communities are also just fun to be a part of, and can lead to other fun activities that are good for you—i.e. beach volleyball, skimboarding, windsurfing, etc. 

Also on Z Living: The Bizarre Reason Your Workouts Might Not Be Working

7. You Can Take It Around The World


This is a whole-body workout that’s good for your heart, and calms you, and on top of all that, you can practice it in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Serious surfers head to famous locations in Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Australia all of the time to seek out legendary waves. That’s a devotion that goes deeper than any gym enthusiast. 

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