How Sailing Will Help You Relax, Get in Shape and Stay Healthy

— Guest Post by Sean – freelance writer and sailing enthusiast —

Sailing is an enjoyable hobby that has a great deal to offer. It definitely helped me improve, both physically, as well as mentally. It gets your entire family outside and provides you with hours of entertainment on those long hot weekends in the summer and even the cooler days in fall.

However, it’s not just about the relaxation and memories. Sailing can also help you get in shape and stay there. Here’s how sailing will help your body, health and mind: 

An Active Endeavor

Unlike other types of boating where you passively sit back and let a motor do the work, sailing is an interactive sport that requires you to physically interact with the craft. You’ll work out your upper body by manning the sails, and your back and legs will also get some exercise as you navigate your way around the craft to access different points.

It’s appropriate for all age ranges, including young children and senior citizens, and men and women alike have lost weight out on the sailboat.

Active Sailing Photo credit:

Hiking Out for Full Body Workouts

You’ll hike out against the hull of the boat when you need to really shift the sail around to change your direction, and this movement is perfect for building your abdominals and obliques. At the same time, you’ll build up strength in your arms as you pull in the ropes to exert more control over the sails, and stay in charge of the tiller.

Finally, you’ll develop stronger legs and thighs every time you get back in the boat for hiking, and longer periods of hiking will provide you with greater results.

Never Underestimate the Relaxation

Of course, sailing isn’t always a strenuous exercise. There will be long periods on the boat when you can drift and let the wind take you where you want to go. During these periods, you can sit back, relax, and take in the incredible views out on the open ocean. This can help you reduce your stress levels and even lower your blood pressure, and that’s also great news for your overall fitness.

Sailboat in a bayPhoto credit:

Working Out the Brain

Mental stimulation is necessary for personal growth, and it’s been shown that exercising the aging mind may help keep Alzheimer’s and dementia away. Sailing is mentally challenging as you learn how to quickly tell which direction your sails must be turned and discover the most efficient ways to achieve the right settings.

During times of high wind or choppy seas, your ability to deal with stress and pressure will be tested, and that can help you tackle all types of challenges in your everyday life.

Graceful and Light on the Feet

Most sailors learn how to be light on their feet in order to keep the boats balanced nicely. Even if you start out lumbering around the deck, you’ll quickly develop a certain amount of grace as you navigate the decks in all types of conditions.

In order to get the boat moving in the right direction, you may have to stretch for cables. You’ll gradually become more agile while improving your hand-eye coordination.

Waves on the beach in Cape TownPhoto credit:

Impressive Endurance

As you pull and hoist sails, you’ll do more than just improve core strengths. Unlike being at a gym where you can take a break when you’re tired, sailing requires you to dig deep and find the necessary endurance to keep going.

This can lead to improved endurance in all types of activities, and that can serve you well on the high seas as well as dry land.

Improved Mood

The salt air of the ocean has been shown to boost moods by balancing out serotonin levels. This is why people who go sailing regularly tend to be happier and more relaxed than their counterparts who keep the workouts to the gym.

Summer sunset

Tips for Beginners

Even if you’ve never sailed in your life, it’s never too late to start. You don’t even have to purchase a sailboat to see if you like the hobby. You can always head to a convenient marina and see about renting one for an afternoon before you make the leap.

Here are a few tips beginner sailors should keep in mind:

  • Start in calm waters that aren’t crowded so that you’ll have room to maneuver and make mistakes.
  • Small boats are easier to control because there’s fewer lines and sail to content with. If possible, make your first excursion in a boat with only one sail.
  • Wear your life vest when on the water, and always let someone know what your plans are.
  • Check the weather, tide, and wind conditions before going out on the water.
  • Go out with a more experienced partner who can teach you about the controls and basic terms.
  • Capsize that boat in a controlled environment so that you’ll know what to expect if you’re ever in a real emergency.
  • Pack light, but bring the essentials that you’ll need, including a first aid kit and communications radio.
  • Pay attention to the boom. Know where it is at all times and respect it.
  • Be willing to take a course so that you can learn important skills and enjoy your new hobby more.

Sailing is an excellent hobby for anyone who wants to get in shape and enjoy good health. I’m happy I discovered it, as sailing took me all over the world, maintained my fitness, and introduced me to new friends all over the globe.

Sailing is not just a workout for the body, it’s a treatment for your frame of mind and a great way to feel more satisfied with your life. Don’t be afraid to rent a small sailboat and head out on the open water. With some practice and possibly even some lessons from more experienced sailors, you may find yourself working up to more challenging rigs that can take you out to deeper waters. Go for it!

Would you give sailing a try? 

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Author: Sean is a freelance writer and traveler with an affinity for sailing and scuba diving, always on the lookout for new destinations to visit. He prefers a nautical lifestyle, but when he’s on dry land, you’ll find him typing or planning his next big fishing trip, probably with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by his side. Contact page:

Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comment
  • Yeah, sure! I also love swimming, so, i wouldn’t mind falling in the water, with a huge splash 🙂