Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Surfers, The Healthiest Athlete

Hi all, I clipped this article from the local Laguna Indy for your enjoyment if you missed the print version.

Surfers, The Healthiest Athlete

Surfing. To all of us who have tasted this gift, we unanimously agree there is just something about it. For years I would count on the post nasal drip joys to send me into a euphoria, sufficing any inquisition into the real health benefits of surfing, until now.

Our oceans contain a high amount of beneficial negative ions. “The action of the pounding surf creates negative ions where people report lightened moods,” says researcher Michael Terman, PhD, of Columbia University in New York. These studies show negative ion generators relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression, with the same effectiveness as antidepressants.

This sea of negative ions also protects us from free radicals. A free radical, a tool the body uses to ward off disease, is an unpaired electron looking to steal back its missing electron from a neighboring atom. Once that free radical robs an adjacent atom of their electron, it creates another free radical, causing a reactive domino effect. This type of oxidative stress is much like the stress felt surfing Brooks in a south swell on a summer’s day. There are more surfers than waves and ‘neighborly’ takes on a new meaning.

Exposure to the ocean’s negative ions is like cash in the bank. Negative ions have electrons to spare and can generously give them to free radicals, neutralizing them once they have done their job. The next time you are sitting in a crowded lineup, pay it forward, give someone your wave and watch the atmosphere change.

Surfing is also a road to the fountain of youth. As a type of interval training, surfing involves bursts of high intensity movement between periods of low-intensity movement, hoping there are not too many of the latter. Interval training’s magic lies in its ability to protect our telomeres.

Telomeres are our biological time clocks that keep us young by protecting the ends of our chromosomes much like the taped ends of a shoelace.When we neglect sleep, eat poor food or maintain high amounts of stress,Our cells divide to increase membrane surface in order to manage the removal of waste. The more our cells divide, the shorter our telomeres become and the faster we age.

Research by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UC San Francisco has shown this type of physical training buffers the telomere shortening process, which keeps us biologically young.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was known to have taken note of fishermen who had soaked their injuries in seawater seemed to have fewer infections.A study on this treatment, known as thalassotherapy, by the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil, shows women suffering from fibromyalgia improved after performing seawater exercises.

There is nothing more unique to surfing than the post-nasal drip. There were many times I would be leaning over a spreadsheet in an important meeting only to unveil my morning’s adventures over an embarrassing pool of nose drool. We can find appreciation for this saline nasal irrigation as not only is this a great way to clear out mucus, clinical evidence shows it relieves symptoms of sinus conditions.

More commonly known are the abundance of ionic minerals in seawater we both breathe in and absorb. Along with water itself, seawater consists of sodium, chloride, sulfate, magnesium, calcium, potassium and bicarbonate ions. These minerals are important in brain and nerve function, healthy metabolism and strong bones. Add in the valuable vitamin D you soak up from the sun’s rays and you can count on feeling revived after a long surf.

The last thing a surfer needs is an excuse to surf. And whether you are a swimmer, skimmer, bodyboarder or bodysurfer, one thing we all agree on is spending time in nature and breathing the fresh Laguna Beach ocean air will do a body good. We cold water soldiers can take pride in knowing we are knocking on the frontiers of human health doing what we love. I’ll see you in the water Laguna.

Laguna Beach resident Molly Morse is a holistic health therapist.

Craig de Pfyffer, ISA, ASLA Associate
Environmental Designs
P.O. Box 247
Tel:      (800) 811-3010
Fax:     (800) 811-3014
Mobile: (949) 288-3010

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Posted via email from Craig's posterous

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