Wellness Wednesdays: 5 Benefits of Sailing That You Didn’t Know About
Are you a sailor? If not, you may want to try giving it a go! Sailing has been shown to be full of health-promoting benefits for the ‘everyday person’! Sure, sailing can be a great workout for our muscles, heart, and lungs when we’re lifting sails, cranking grinders, heaving ropes, and even just balancing ourselves when under sail. But did you know about these five other surprising positive influences that sailing has on us?
Sailing decreases anxiety & stress!
It’s a well-known fact that open-water, beautiful sunshine, and salty air are great for our health, but these combinations are not just good for our physical health, but they’re also essential to our mental state. The negatively charged ion air particles, the blue ocean colours and the ebb-and-flow of the waves help to rewire our brain! The colour of the ocean has been associated with mood relaxation as well as creativity, while the salty air and ocean movements actually de-stimulate our brains! And let’s be honest, in today’s busy, instant and over-stimulated world, we could all use some de-stimulation!
Sailing improves communication skills!
Sailing is a team sport. It’s tough to sail alone and in some cases (depending on the size of your boat), it’s near impossible! In order to effectively sail a sailboat, you need to be able to listen, understand, and efficiently execute any directions given to you. The continual practise of these skills begins to develop your ability to communicate effectively. There’s no room for a lengthy story or misunderstanding, so you learn quickly how to ask for help, how to provide clear and concise directions, and how to communicate a potential hazard or problem.
Sailing improves your concentration!
In our busy world of being ‘on’ and multi-tasking all the time, our ability to concentrate and effectively/efficiently complete a task is compromised. At any given time, while sailing, there are a handful of things of which to be mindful. You need to worry about the wind direction, wind speed, ocean movements, weather patterns, sailing charts, your boat, hazards in the water, your crew and anyone you have on board, the sails, and your gauges. It’s a lot to focus on, but for the safety of everyone, you learn to pinpoint your concentration on what’s important and allow the rest to take a backseat. You learn that there will be time later to give attention to the distractions that won’t serve your current purpose and instead allow your tasks at hand the appropriate attention they require!
Sailing encourages a better understanding of your spatial senses!
Sailing can require you to be a bit of a mathematician, engineer, and scientist all at once. In doing so, you must know the length and physical size of your boat, how to maneuver your boat and the space required to do so. This requires you to envision your boat and surroundings from a bird’s eye view all while maintaining steady feet inside your boat!
Sailing improves your organizational skills!
Space is a luxury when dealing with a boat. It’s limited and often tightly cramped with necessities (a.k.a. items needed for survival and practical use of the boat). Necessities do not include all of the ‘home comforts’ that we’re so used to. So in order to have a homey feeling on board, a sailor’s use of space is extremely important! They must think about how that space will be used, what will be kept in that space and how those items get used (including frequency of use). For example, in the engine room, you wouldn’t keep a kayak paddle. It serves no purpose in there and is not convenient for when it’s needed. But, you would consider keeping your tools, a first aid kit, and a life jacket in these spaces. Having to think creatively about the space available to you can significantly improve your ability to organize. As you begin to identify necessities, it becomes easier to apply these skills in all aspects of your life and you’ll find yourself being able to sustain a more ‘minimal’ lifestyle of function and practicality!