Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Balanced Man

by Spencer Munson

Summer is fast approaching but many men on the Jersey Shore are still feeling the effects of a long, cold winter. Lack of fun, sun and exercise may leave the body feeling tired and a little off balance. Fortunately for those on the East coast, there is an exciting and healthy way to get the mind and the body back to a regular balance. To find this balance, look no further than the Ocean and estuaries. Surfing and stand-up paddling boarding on the Jersey Shore have been quickly gaining popularity in recent years and for good reason. Surfing and “SUPing” not only help improve physical health, they can also offer great benefits for the mind!
For those guys focusing on getting back the summer body, surfing and paddling offer an enjoyable way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health and build muscle. An hour of casual paddling can burn up to 430 calories while an hour of surfing can shave up to 200 calories. A surf or SUP session involves a high level of aerobic activity, which can reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks in men. Not only will men notice a change in their physical well-being, they will also see a change in their muscular build. Surfing and paddling work the back, shoulders, legs, and core, which drastically improves the body’s natural balance. What better way is there to get in shape all while playing around in the ocean?
Sure surfing and stand-up paddling are a fun way to find a healthy physical balance, but did you know they can also help balance the mind? Floating around in the sweet ocean air is a massive concentration of negative hydrogen ions, charged particles that are proven to increase the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. The negative ions also bring the body’s serotonin levels to a healthy equilibrium, thus reducing stress and anxiety, which ultimately leads to a better mood and improved sleep. The cool sea air isn’t the only natural element to thank for a healthy mind; the sun also plays a large role in making the mind happy. Exposure to natural light is known to increase endorphins in the brain; this increase leads to a greater pain tolerance and a drastically improved mood. One session out on the water may leave the body feeling a bit tired but it will certainly send the mind on a much needed vacation.
Surf shops are dotted all around the coast and there are plenty of qualified and friendly instructors available to help beginners get started or send novice’s on their way to the next level. The same can be said for Stand-up paddling boarding as the sport continues to grow faster and faster each year.

 On July 9th, Clean Ocean Action will be hosting the 2016 Shore Paddle which will include a 5.5 mile SUP race, a fun paddle for all levels and even a clinic to help beginners get started paddling. Go get out there this summer and find your balance on the water!

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