As a boat owner or a prospective boat owner, you probably dream of those days out on the water, cruising the lake, deep seas fishing, or cutting through wakes on your skis. Boating offers you plenty of fun for you and your friends and family, and it’s a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
Boating is a fun and healthy pastime. You can use it to de-stress and relax, improve your fitness, and increase your happiness and well-being. Boating is a physical activity, and the actions you take in and out of the water strengthen your physical and mental health.
We put together this guide to unpack the health benefits of boating. If you’re thinking about pulling the buying trigger on that new bay boat or bass boat, then this post will give you everything you need to confirm your purchase.
What’s the Science Behind the Health Benefits of Boating?
With boat sales booming in the United States during 2020 and 2021, more Americans are thinking about getting onto the water for some fun. According to a report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 2020 saw boat sales in the US reach a 13-year high.
The reason for the sudden increase in sales is probably due to the effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health. After spending time locked up in the house, people were keen to spend some quality time with friends and family, and they chose boating as a way to facilitate this lifestyle improvement.
When you think about boating, it usually involves getting out onto a river, lake, or ocean. These areas are where nature thrives, giving you a connection to your surroundings that stills our inner need to get close to our natural surroundings.
Wake boats, fishing boats, and jet skis (PWCs) saw huge sales during 2020 and 2021. Most buyers were also first-time boat owners, up 10% on the previous year’s buyers. It seems like when you have a boat; everyone wants to go out on the water with you. It’s a great way to strengthen and build new and existing relationships with your family and your social circle.
Being out on the water in your boat provides you with a sense of a healing environment, surrounded by nature, sunshine, and fresh air. You’ll feel a sense of calmness and relaxation while you stare out to the deep blue horizon from the deck of your boat.
According to research published by the journal Frontiers in Psychology in 2020, spending as little as 10-minutes out in nature can positively impact your health and well-being.
Get Out of the Fast Lane and Slow Down Your Life
Today’s modern society is challenging to navigate, especially if you live in a big city. City life slowly increases your stress levels and wears away on your mental health.
Spending hours in traffic every day with angry motorists is hard enough. However, add the other elements of city living like pollution and a hectic work schedule. We find that many city-dwelling Americans feel highly strung as they go about their lives.
Keeping your career commitments, finding the time for your kids and career, and your social life is challenging. Sometimes., you feel like you just need to escape the rat race and get out into nature. Boating offers you the ideal way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life.
Launch the boat, head out onto the ocean for the day, and those stresses melt away. You’ll find you start to relax as you focus on the task at hand and your natural surroundings. Boating offers you a fantastic way to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. It’s the ideal remedy to counter the negative impacts of our modern lifestyle.
With no deadlines or people calling you in for meetings, you’ll feel free and ready to relax. Step onto the deck, start the motor, and sail away from the stresses in your life.
Enjoy the Relaxing Effect of a “Blue Mind”
The Exeter Medical School in the UK recently published a report in October 2019 showing the effects of a “Blue Mind.” The research shows that people living by the shoreline of the ocean, a river, or a lake are up to 22% percent less likely to experience the effects of anxiety and depression in their lives compared to people that reside inland.
The research also shows that the benefits of “Blue Health” (interacting with water bodies) in your life are especially useful for individuals who lead a low-income lifestyle. This study followed a previous Canadian research paper showing that people who live closer to a large body of water experience a reduction of up to 17% in mortality.
So, the physical and mental protective benefits of living around water are proven. The research also shows that the “Blue Health” effect is more prominent in women and older adults. Have you ever experienced the soothing sound of falling asleep to the sound of the ocean when you take a vacation to the coastline?
Simply arriving at the ocean to hear the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach is enough to initiate a calming response in your body and mind. Somehow, your stress and worries seem to melt away as you close your eyes and focus on the sounds of the ocean, lake, or the burbling of a river.
Wallace J. Nichols is the author of “Blue Mind.” This best-seller examines the science behind the effect of water on our well-being and mindset. According to Wallace’s research, the simple sight or sound of bodies of water promotes sensations of wellness, lowering cortisol production (the stress hormone) while boosting serotonin production (the “happy” biochemical responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being).
Wallace says that spending time out on the water in a boat is as good as medication designed for treating anxiety and depression in affected individuals. Wallace states that the principle behind the “Blue Mind” is to disconnect from the hustle and stress of the world.
When we unplug from our devices and social media for a few hours with a boat trip, our brains thank us for our actions by adapting to our surroundings during the experience. As a result, you come back from your boat trip tired but feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to take on the world and our life.
Get More Vitamin D
Our bodies produce vitamin D3 through synthesizing sunlight landing on our skin. It’s impossible to get vitamin D3 from food, and the sunlight is the only source of the vitamin, other than using supplements to increase the levels of D3 in your blood.
According to scientific research, individuals with blood-serum levels of D3 above 50 ng/ml experienced the lowest mortality rates and levels of sickness. Vitamin D3 acts like a hormone in the body, stimulating the immune system and strengthening the skeletal system.
However, most of us don’t get enough sunshine on our skin. According to the research, to reach serum levels of 50 ng/ml, you’ll need to spend at least an hour in the sun every day with your entire upper body exposed to the sun’s rays. Most of us don’t have that kind of time to spend suntanning each day.
If you live in a city and don’t get much sun, then the chances are that you are vitamin D3 deficient. Being deficient in this vital vitamin affects the strength of your immune system, making you vulnerable to infection and disease.
However, with elevated levels of D3 in your blood, you’ll find you hardly ever get sick. When you experience infection, you recover your health faster than those people who are D3 deficient.
Boating provides you with a way to get out into nature and enjoy the sunshine on the weekends, boosting your body’s natural D3 production. As a result, you’ll experience an increase in your health and well-being.
Unplug from Everything
With the advent of the iPhone in 2008, our lives changed forever. Smart devices and social media changed the communications landscape, and now everyone is hyperconnected to each other 24/7 through their mobile devices. Many young people find themselves addicted to social media and its effect on their dopamine production.
Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical produced in the brain to reward doing something we find pleasurable. However, social media ruins our dopamine production, wiring it to how many likes and comments we get on our Instagram posts.
Many people note that they feel their phone is an extension of themselves, and they can’t help but check in on their notifications every five minutes. This behavior damages our mental health, leading to an increase in anxiety and depression.
Getting out on the boat gives you the chance to leave your phone behind and unplug from the matrix for a few hours. When you’re out on the water without your device, you might find it frustrating at first.
However, as the hours go by, you’ll find yourself less and less interested in worrying about the messages and DMs stacking up in your inbox while you’re out on the water. Your brain starts to unwind, and you’ll feel the stress and anxiety begin to dissipate as you begin to relax.
Turn Family and Friends into Your Crew
Going boating is a great way to increase the bond between you, your partner, and your kids. It’s the recipe for a happy family and a great way to connect with each other.
We all live such busy lives that many kids hardly see their parents. When they do, it’s usually for a few hours in the evening before the kids go to bed, or you might get some quality time on the weekends, but the kids usually end up spending that time with their friends.
When you pull a boat into the driveway, your kids will go crazy with excitement. Every kid loves the thought of getting out on the water in a boat for some fun. You can spend time waterskiing or tubing or teaching your kids to fish; there are plenty of ways to have fun on the water.
Turn your family into your crew and teach your kids the principles of boating and the life aquatic. It’s a great way to strengthen your relationships – and they can help you wash the boat after the day’s fun!
Beat Depression and Anxiety
As city-dwellers, we gradually lose our connection to the natural world. Living in the concrete jungle takes its toll on your mental health, pulling you from the natural environment of your ancestors.
So, when you take the time to go on a boating trip[, you give yourself the chance to escape the city life and return to your roots. Plenty of studies show the benefits of getting out into nature for some fun, sunshine, and fresh air.
Boating provides you with a conduit to connect with mother nature and relieve the stress and anxiety in your life. Why take pills or see a psychiatrist when all you need to do is get out onto the water and enjoy yourself?
While going to the gym, eating right, and getting enough sleep is critical for your health, we all need mental stimulation in our lives. Spending your free time staring at the TV or a computer screen isn’t doing your health and mindset any favors.
Boating offers you a way to get active out in nature. The act of coordinating your family, hauling and launching the boat, and the water sports activities involved with a day on the lake or out on the ocean will leave you feeling exhausted by the time you get back to shore.
Who needs the gym and the smell of sweaty socks when you can get a workout in on your boat? According to research, spending a day on a boat could burn as much as 800 to 1,000-calories. Those results beat anything you could get from a workout at the gym.
Build your relationships, improve health, and clear your mind with some time out on the water in your boat.