As it is World Mental Health Week 2018, we believed it fitting to explore the alternate benefits of kitesurfing aside from burning calories.
It contributes to stress relief
Lets start with the obvious. Kitesurfing, as many of you are aware, requires a great deal of attention. Your time on the water is both so entertaining and engaging that your life stressors are left on shore: bills, work commitments; relationships; they won’t matter.
It encourages mindfulness
While focusing on your immediate situation, you will find that you will engage in a new state of being – enter mindfulness! It is vital that you remain completely in the moment and aware of your direct surroundings when you are in the water. You simply do not have space left in your mind for it to wander. You will instead remain focused on the position of your body, the kite, your hands on the bar, the board…
A stronger immune system
Chronic stress naturally exacerbates just about every known health condition. Stress reduction and mindfulness will automatically strengthen your immune system, which in turn will keep you healthier and able to enjoy life more.
It stimulates an adrenaline rush
While participation in any sport can eliminate stress, these benefits are amplified when they are applied to kitesurfing. It is a safe, yet extreme sport that provokes an adrenaline rush. These rushes will create an enormously positive feeling of wellness.
It forces you to spend time in nature
A large body of research has attested to the mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Studies have shown that what you see, hear and experience in your physical environment not only impacts your mood, but how your nervous, immune and endocrine systems work as well. Obvious benefits include increased exposure to vitamin D from the sun, improved sleep and the opportunity to avoid indoor pollutants and breathe clean, outdoor air.
It forges strong friendships.
Kitesurfing is a social sport. Kitesurfers tend not to be territorial creatures (cough, surfers) and are generally always willing to have a chat; “how is the wind today”, “what size kite are you riding”, “can you give us a launch”. Kitesurfing at crowded spots relies on mutual cooperation and respect, therefore encouraging friendly and approachable people to the sport. Kitesurfers prefer to join together to kite not simply for safety purposes but for the opportunity to meet like-minded people with common interests.
It pushes you to travel.
Depending what is near to your home, you will find that it is only a matter of time until you will want to try a new kitesurfing environment; whether it’s waves, a flat water paradise, or new kickers. Kitesurfing will inevitably inspire you to travel places that may not have previously been on your bucket list, such as the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, New Caledonia, or the Torres Strait.
It allows you to develop a strong will.
Anyone that is learning kitesurfing or developing a new skill within the sport will know that it can be a frustrating process. One reason kitesurfing is so addictive is that you will feel a sense of immense personal pride once you have reached a new level; and that new level could not have been reached without a strong will. It will consistently encourage you to push through the discomfort and frustration. This will then naturally be applied to other aspects of your life.
There is always a new goal to attain
A fantastic element of kitesurfing is that there is always room for learning and development. Whether it is learning to ride a twintip, foil, surfboard, jumps, grabs, tricks – there is always something to improve upon. The sport does not call for boredom; it will always encourage you to push forward.
It raises self-esteem
Lets face it – kitesurfing is a badass sport. The level of personal accomplishment and general stoke a kiter will feel at any level of the sport is hard to match. Plus – we’ve all been proud to tell non-kiters about our unique hobby!
Stay happy, stay healthy and go Kitesurfing!