The Benefit of Water & Ocean activities
As a Fitness & Ocean Sport athlete, it was just a matter of time, until I write about the benefits of Water/Ocean activities. I am a happy person and, today made me realize the reason for a blissful life especially since I am spending half of my day in the water. But why is that? Listen to what our friends have to say about their water activities:
So why such a strong connection? … Let’s start from the beginning.
Who/what are we?
The average adult human body is 50- 65% water. Human blood has a chemical composition of 98% (similar to seawater), and our muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water.
We’re also born of the ocean. Each of us begins life floating in amniotic fluid that holds a 99% similar chemical composition to seawater. —> We are water!
Mental performance and physical coordination decrease around 1% dehydration (before thirst kicks in). —> We need water to perform and live!
What is the ocean ?
The ocean is about 96.5% water and 3.5% of salts and Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. So no wonder we feel so good in the ocean!
So what really happens when we jump into the water?
“It looks like I am dreaming” Blossom Kite girl Suami.
Physical changes with the Benefit of Water & Ocean activities
1. The Master Switch of Life
The moment you put your face into the water, your heart rate immediately decreases by 25%. Your mind will enter a meditative, almost dreamlike state. Scientists call this the mammalian diving reflex or the Master Switch of Life. These reflexes affect the brain, lungs, and heart, to protect us from underwater pressure. The same pressures on land would kill or injure us, but not in the ocean. The ocean has different rules! Read more …
” Ca me provoque de l’adrenaline un sentiment de bien etre, relaxant … Tu oublis beaucoup de choses. Quand tu plonges c’est vraiment relaxant“. Joel Stephane works at Dominican Republic Speleological Society (DRSS)
2. The Buoyancy
or the ability to float (here in the water) reduces the “weight” of a person by up to 90 percent (depending on body composition, muscular structure, and depth of water), which reduces stress on joints and connective tissue. Water activities (such as AquaFit) allow us to work out with low impact without hurting our joints.
On another side, a body moving through the water creates drag. In Fact, water molecules attempt to “stick” to the body, while also trying to stick to other water molecules because of the water’s viscosity.
For the same body movement, doing it in the water will be tougher than on land because water is 790 times more viscous and provides 12 times the resistance than the air normal. Also, increasing the speed of an exercise will also increase the resistance of the exercise. This provides ways to create resistance without overloading muscles or joints. This is the reason Aqua Workout is so good and beneficial for everyone (from athletes to elderly and injured people).
4. Thermal Regulation
When the body is submerged in water, heat loss (via conduction) is 26 times higher than a similar air temperature. You are burning more calories in the water than outside. No wonder doing water activities is a great way to get fit.
1. Reconnection with ourselves
In today’s world, we are overstimulated by mobile phones, emails, threats, penalties, payment, noise, and all types of stress connected to diseases. The ocean is the last quiet place on Earth, the only place to disconnect.
The second you jump into the ocean your pulse will drop, this means your body will relax, and stress will dissipate. Recent reports by Anette Kjellgren and colleagues in Sweden suggest that floating in water may have beneficial therapeutic effects on mental health. “A lot of sicknesses in our society are due to stress, and there aren’t opportunities to find this stress relief in ordinary life,” says Dr. Kjellgren.
Some international research and references “BlueMind” research have been done about programs that rely on the power of water to heal people emotionally and physically.
Friend and free diver Oli Dadswell from EyeFly Films mentions “Freediving is freedom. To be able to spend time under the water in the natural environment, without being hindered by heavy equipment for breathing is incredible. Learning to master your own physiology and to be so in control of your mind is a wonderful feeling. To dive deeper and longer than you ever thought possible is simply a matter of learning to control your fears and emotions. Through meditation, you can enter a form of altered state in order to become one with the ocean.”
Research concludes that the ocean offers opportunities to de-stress, secure a sense of balance, relax and recharge.
“There’s something about spending time in the ocean that seems to nourish my spirit and reset my body and mind to a resilient & relaxed zone. After my 1st SUP Yoga class, my mind and body felt deeply relaxed and energized at the same time. Afterward, my mind felt clear and simple things felt more alive and fresh- from the feeling of the sand under my feet to the taste of the fruit at breakfast. I believe the ocean can heal us in ways that we may not fully understand. So I loved the combo of having a workout for the body & mind in the ocean. And the best was Shavasana with our arms hanging over the side of the board, hands floating in the ocean. Wow. It was amazingly relaxing to be out on the water, feeling the warmth of the sun, being rocked by the movement of the waves, hearing the water, not having a care in the world, and completely letting go.” Anouk Shambrook, ocean-lover,
2. Feeling strong, focused, and engaged
Big waves surfer, WaterMan Dave Kalama told us: “I feel good when I’m in the ocean. I feel engaged in life when I’m in the ocean. I usually feel happy when I’m in the ocean. I feel great and it makes me happy when I get to share the ocean experience with other people.”
Ocean sports and personal development have a lot in common. The search for pushing the limits (jumping higher, surfing bigger waves, riding faster, …) is something athletes have been seeking and training for. Below is a picture of Keala Kennelly on a Wave in Teahupoo. Keala is an incredible female role model for surfers of all sexes and ages.
3. Helps integration (individual, group, and environment)
Being in the ocean helps build confidence and self-esteem. There is an interaction that contributes in a playful way, to the motivation of a group; develops social skills; develops concepts of leadership, mutual respect, and mutual help.
For Tatiana Howard “Being out on the water is one of the best things in the world for me. To jump into the ocean and rinse off all stress, worries, and ideas that accumulate in a day is so refreshing. Surfing in any form gets my body moving, fresh air in my lungs, sunshine on my face, smiles from friends, everything together wakes up my body, mind, and spirit!“. Tati is the founder of The Butterfly Effect (BE), a worldwide water woman movement that brings women together in a non-competitive gathering celebrating community and love of the ocean while instilling confidence in women of all ages and skillsets. You can read more about the BE stop in Cabarete.
There is also awareness for environmental protection: finding ways of interaction with the surrounding world and understanding the importance of preserving the natural integrity of the ocean and coastlines. To have healthy oceans we need healthy marine wildlife. Below is a picture of Audrey Meyer paddleboarding quietly alongside a female whale on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.
There are many organizations out there that are genuinely dedicated to preserving the health of our world’s oceans: Save our Surf, Ocean Conservancy, Cousteau Society, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Surfrider Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage, Greenpeace, and many more.
4. Feeling high “Stoked” (euphoria)
We all know that adrenaline gives your this buzz, but there is nothing like coming out of the water after a great session. Adrenaline is another word for the hormone epinephrine, part of the brain’s response to exercise.
A great video on Fox 11 Los Angeles of a surfer in CA telling us about how he feels after his surf session.
The brain is a complex structure and we don’t fully understand it. Every surfer knows the feeling of “surf stoke”! While surfing, we experience elevated levels of Adrenalin and Dopamine.
Research suggests these persistent effects of surf euphoria may be attributed to an unlikely candidate: sea spray. Some scientists are convinced this abundance of negative ions has a positive effect on mood by triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin – the “happy hormones” – and increasing blood flow and oxygen circulation through our bodies. Read more
5. Sharing the emotions
Spreading happiness, sharing feelings, emotions, achievement, there is something about doing it in the ocean with someone else.
“My best session is a session with my friends“. Audrey Meyer
We want to thank all our ocean, water sports friends who contributed to this article. We wouldn’t have so much fun in the water without you, thank you:
- Sonja Medina
- Samula Mule
- Suami Cavallo
- Juan Lena
- Andreas Lagopoulos from Uncharted Kite Sessions
- Tracy Shayhorn
- Ariel Aurora from Ariel Richards Holistic Health
- Joel Stephane from Dominican Republic Speleological Society (DRSS)
- Oli Dadswell from EyeFly Films
- Anouk Shambrook
- Dave Kalama from imaginesurf
- Tatiana Howard founder of The Butterfly Effect
- Jens Baur, soulmate