The health benefits of sports such as football, basketball, swimming and running are well known. Physical activities like these boost our cardiovascular fitness, and greatly lessen the risks of developing conditions such as obesity or high blood pressure, which threaten heart health.
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Even more beneficial, are those activities that combine physical exercise with deep relaxation. Among these, sailing tops the list for its combination of demanding physical activity with absolute tranquillity. After a day’s sailing, with its mental and physical challenges, you can sit on deck watching the sun set slowly over the horizon, while waves splash gently against the boat. It’s the perfect combination for lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Sailing in Malta is about as perfect as it gets, because when you do decide to return to harbour, you can look forward to wonderful food and Maltese hospitality.
More Than Just A Pleasurable Experience
Sailing is unusual, in that it can be a hobby, a competitive sport, a holiday activity with the family, or a way to socialise with friends. A lot of the satisfaction of sailing comes from the interaction with the natural environment, thinking about wind, tide and currents while working hard to keep the boat making steady progress. This can involve demanding physical work and endurance.
It’s a great way to get to know people too, as you work and relax with them. Teamwork is essential in sailing, and relationships can be greatly strengthened, simply by working together in a common enterprise, in beautiful surroundings.
Anyone not used to sailing, who joins the crew of a boat, soon realises just how much muscle strength is involved in manoeuvring sales, ducking under the boom and adjusting ropes and rigging. As you work, you take up large amounts of oxygen – the fresh sea air that ensures a great night’s sleep when you finish the day’s sailing.
Salt Air And Serotonin Balance
The sea air also helps your body to balance its serotonin levels, which affect mood. The salt air has positively charged ions, and these similarly increase calmness and happiness. As soon as you begin to smell the sea air, the positive effect on your mood begins, and this sets up a beneficial cycle, in which you breathe more deeply, your heart rate slows, and as a result, you relax further. The constant gentle motion of sailing on a calm sea, also results in the rhythmic sound of water splashing against the side of the boat, which is intensely calming.
Improving Coordination, Agility and Core Stability
Nimbleness and agility are greatly developed by moving around in a confined space while carrying out manual tasks, such as hoisting sales. Added to this, the need to keep your balance is excellent for developing and improving core stability. Sailing involves a great deal of hand to eye coordination, and there’s a need to focus 100% on the task in hand because lapses in concentration on a boat, can result in accidents. This is an ideal tonic for people whose jobs involve managing multiple tasks or moving rapidly from one topic to another.
Our working lives, especially in large cities, can involve being cut off from nature. Sailing gives us the chance to reconnect with the environment. Sailing in Malta offers all of these benefits, along with the island’s hospitality. It’s an experience that lasts long after the actual sailing is finished, continuing to deliver cardiovascular benefits through increased strength and endurance, and reduced stress.