Surfing is good for the mind as well as the body say Cornish medics
Surfing is good for the mind as well as the body, according to two Cornish doctors who say they have found proof of the link.
Laura Bond and Sarah Colpus analysed data collected by The Wave Project from 2010-12 and found that surfing boosted emotional wellbeing.
Their findings were sent to the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM), which has now invited the two doctors to present them as a poster at their national conference in Birmingham later this month.
Dr Colpus said they had found a provable link which demonstrated the all round benefits of surfing.
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“The statistical results have supported the feedback we have had from parents and clients around the positive effects of surfing,” she said.
“It is great to have statistical evidence to support what we think is a very worthwhile project”.
The two doctors work at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and have volunteered as surf mentors with the Wave Project, a not for profit community interest company which helps young people improve confidence and self esteem.
They looked a series of questionnaires given to young people before and after a six week surfing course.
The doctors then used a statistical tool to eliminate the chance of the findings being a co-incidence, and discovered that there was a clear link between attending a six week surfing course, and improved mental health and wellbeing.
Their work was then examined by a panel at BASEM who agreed for the work to be displayed at their annual congress.
The doctors will attend the conference later this month and present the findings alongside research by other medical professionals from across the country.
Dr Bond said: “Having volunteered with the Wave Project this year we have seen first hand the really positive impact that the project has on young people who are referred to it.
“But now we have scientific evidence to support the incredible feedback we have seen from clients and parents, so we hope that surfing will be taken more seriously as an intervention by medical professionals.”
Earlier this year The Wave Project teamed up with the NHS in Dorset to run a surfing project for young people referred by mental health and social services.
Wave Project chief executive Joe Taylor said the tide was beginning to turn in favour of public funding for alternative therapies such as surfing.
He said: “When we first ran our pilot scheme back in 2010, it fairly easy to dismiss the findings on the grounds that there was no scientific evidence behind our own evaluation.
“That has now changed, and we are seeing a growing interest from health professionals in using activities such as surfing as positive interventions for mental health and wellbeing.
“It will be fantastic to meet more people from the field at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine Congress to discuss these findings further.”