Boating and Being on the Water Is Good for You

People who spend time on and around bodies of water will be able to tell you instinctively that it has a positive effect on their wellbeing, both mentally and physically. Between the fresh air and scenic environment, people who spend time on boats or otherwise work or play on the water are more likely to have an active lifestyle which is something that we all know is good for us. Despite the anecdotal evidence, it is only recently that scientific studies have confirmed what we have long known about the health and wellbeing benefits of boating.

Recreational boating in all of its many forms is becoming more popular than ever before. Where young children may once have asked for horse riding lessons, they now prefer to learn how to sail a small boat or how to properly manage a kayak or canoe. It is also something that is increasingly popular with adults too because it is now being more accepted and accessible as a hobby and form of exercise. Not only this, but it actually promotes a healthier, more relaxed mindset.

The benefits of boating

It seems that today, our lives are increasingly busy and stressful which can start to take a toll on our wellbeing. Chronic stress doesn’t just make us feel miserable, it also has physical effects that can be damaging in the long term if you don’t find a way to manage your stress levels. Humans were designed to live our lives around water and are therefore naturally in tune with marine and aquatic environments. Just looking at and experiencing the sights and sounds of water has a calming effect on us, helping those stresses to just melt away. This works because the experience reduces your blood cortisol levels, raises your serotonin, and even works to lower your blood pressure.

If you are spending time actively in, on and around water by swimming, kayaking, sailing, or paddle boarding, you will be gaining all the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Taking enough regular exercise has proven health benefits that can last a lifetime if you are consistent, and can help you to keep your health and independence later in your life for longer. People who get regular exercise have healthier hearts and lungs because these are given a proper work out.

Just 30 minutes of intense paddling, swimming or active boating a few times per week can give you these benefits, and you’ll be pleased to know that the bosuns whistle is optional! This amount of exercise, over time, will protect you from some serious chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis. These conditions are all linked to higher body weight, a more sedentary lifestyle, and other risk factors such as excessive drinking and smoking.

Where to start?

If you like the sound of spending time around water and taking care of your health and wellbeing at the same time, you may be wondering how you can get started. You may be under the impression that your new hobby will be expensive, but this doesn’t need to be the case. For example, you can get all the benefits of exercise and being near water by choosing a coastal, riverside or lakeside walk to get some fresh air and feel the benefits.

For those who are feeling a little braver but still want to keep your costs down then wild swimming might be the perfect approach for you. In cold temperatures you can choose to wear a wetsuit that will keep out the worst of the cold, but all you really need is a well fitting swimming costume, and preferably a tow float for visibility and emergency buoyancy.

You can of course spend money on your new hobby, such as buying your own kayak or canoe, or even your own small sailing dinghy. Buying a boat can be a huge expense and responsibility, but opting for something like a canoe or kayak is much more affordable and accessible, especially when you consider how affordable inflatable kayaks and canoes can be these days. You can get a basic kayak for about £100 if you choose an inflatable model, and the rigid models can cost more, coming in somewhere between £300 and £1000 for most basic models.