04 May Watersports and Negative Ions
Kitesurfing and surfing are much more than just sports: they include many aspects such as watching the weather, choosing the right spot, picking the proper gear and staying fit. The ultimate goal for all of us is to go to the water and get that dose of being “stoked”. In fact, researchers have found that this feeling is triggered by negative ions found in the atmosphere around turbulent water. Let us explain you more about the effects of negative ions and water sports.
So what is an ion?
Ion is an atom or a molecule that has lost or gained an electron through various atmospheric forces or environmental influences. Ions are always around us and the balance of positive and negative ions affects our sensations and perceptions. They affect our health, physical well-being, work efficiency, emotional and mental states.
What are positive IONS?
Positively charged ions have a negative effect on our physical and mental health. In nature, positive ions are formed by high winds, dust, humidity and pollution. In our everyday life, we are always surrounded by positive ions: electronic appliances, air conditioning, fluorescent lights, busy and polluted city roads. After being exposed to positive ions for a long time, we feel negative effects like tiredness, irritation, depression, anxiety, etc.
What are negative IONS?
A beneficial effect of negative ions on both mind and the body has been proven by several studies (Baron et al., 1985, Terman and Terman, 1995) and that negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and strengthen the immune system; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, more mental energy. In addition, negative ions in the bloodstream accelerate the delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues. These ions are found where air molecules are constantly breaking apart due to sunlight, radiation, moving air, or turbulent water, for example: in ocean and forest, near waterfalls or snowy mountains, and even in the shower!
So what about water sports?
Doing water sports could be a good way to foster the production of negative ions and reduce exposure of positive ions. No wonder why many organisations around the word like The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation in California are using “Surf Therapy” to treat people who have depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder (a type of winter depression) and post-traumatic stress disorder. Besides, The Wave Project in the UK is helping young people reduce anxiety and Waves for Change in South Africa has developed an award winning programme that fuses elements of cognitive behaviour therapy, humanistic therapy and surfing to improve the well-being and emotional stability of young people who have been affected by violence and abuse. The reason why these organisations are so successful is simple and here we return to ions. Negative ions have a positive effect on mood by triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin – the “happy hormones” – and increasing blood flow and oxygen circulation through our bodies. With increased oxygen circulation, we increase our metabolism that positively influences our physical and mental performance. That is why after a good kite or surf session we are excited, positive, full of energy and want to repeat and repeat the state of being “stoked”.