Snowboarding has numerous emotional benefits. The toughest part of understanding the benefits of the sport may be sorting out where one ends and the next begins, because several aspects of snowboarding work together to improve both your mental and physical health.
Getting out into the sunshine increases the levels of serotonin in your brain, leading to feelings of energy and well-being. Being on the snow increases your exposure to bright sunlight, which can help lift your mood. People who live in colder climates experience seasonal affective disorder when they have reduced exposure to sunlight. If you enjoy snowboarding, the sport can provide the motivation you need to get out of the house and into the sun during the long, cold winter months.
Snowboarding is a good form of exercise. While the intensity of the exercise varies, snowboarding works your core and lower body. The exercise helps you develop balance and flexibility, improve your cardiovascular development, develop muscle and burn calories. Through strength, toning and weight management, snowboarders achieve a more athletic physique; a fit body can lead you to have greater self-confidence and a more positive body image. Regular exercise also provides mental health benefits. Exercise reduces anxiety, boosts cognitive functioning, helps you sleep better and puts you in a more positive mood. When engaged in an enjoyable sport, you are more likely to exercise, and exercise becomes something more than another daily chore.
Snowboarding fights depression on several fronts. Out in the sun, snowboarders are more likely to produce adequate levels of vitamin D. Regular exercise fights weight gain. And snowboarding offers more than an adrenalin rush from thrilling moves, it triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that cause good feelings. These euphoric feelings come from endorphins, and while their effect may be short-lived, the feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction that come from learning and mastering a new sport last much longer.
Community and Confidence
Engaging in a hobby is a way to develop and maintain social ties. Social interaction helps fight feelings of depression. The attitude of the snowboarding community is one of openness and friendliness. Those who may not fit in well in other sports can find a place in snowboarding, where differences of all types are accepted and celebrated. The snowboarding community welcomes new enthusiasts and will help those looking to improve their ability on the course. Learning new moves keeps the mind active and engaged, and participants experience pride in their accomplishments as they increase their skill set, adding new tricks and maneuvers to their repertoires.
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- Vitamin D Council; Depression; June 2011
- President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health; Daniel M. Landers
- Think Muscle; Exercise for Mental Health; Kelly O'Brien; 2010
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- Healthline; Sunlight Needed for Physical and Mental Health; Jolie Bookspan; February 2009
- Simi Valley Acorn; Snowboarder Doesn't Need Sight to Shred; Carissa Marsh; April 2011
- The Skin Cancer Foundation; Vitamin D: The Vitamin D Dilemma; Dr. Roy Geronemus, et al.; 2008
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