Written by Kevin Harvey
September 2018

Marinalife is excited to bring you a new section — Wellness on the Water — which we hope will inspire and motivate you to get out on the water, meet new friends, see new sights and enjoy refreshing and restorative features of aquatic living. This series hopes to show you the connection between water and wellness, how the boating lifescan be healthier and more fun through wellness activities and introduce you to new places and communities where you can engage in healthy outdoor fun.

Water is essential to life. Our bodies are made up of at least 60% water. We consume at least two to three liters of water every day just to survive. Water helps to regulate body temperature, lubricates joints and acts as a shock absorber for our brain and spinal cord. And we all know how important that can be after a long day on the water!

Water isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the soul. In researching experts of water’s restorative properties, I came across an intriguing personality, Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and author of more than 200 scientific papers and reports. He is referred to as the “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and has spent his life researching oceans and aquatic ecosystems.

Nichols believes that we all have a “blue mind,” which he defines as a “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction” that’s triggered when we are in or near water. According to Nichols, “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight and even heal what’s broken,” which he writes in Blue Mind, published in 2017.

As mariners, what better way to unlock water’s benefits than by getting out on your boat and taking a trip? The boat lifestyle allows us to see amazing places not easily accessible by land and meet interesting people. Studies show that having a vibrant social life may protect your brain as you age. Additionally, having and maintaining close ties to friends and family, as well as participating in meaningful social activities, may help keep your mind sharp and your memories strong. So, start today by planning a trip to a new destination that you always wanted to explore.

To all the snowbirds who find them-selves on or near Amelia Island at the beginning of November, check out the Amelia Island Wellness Festival. Hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, you can experience yoga, dance, meditation, fitness and nutrition programs and also have access to its innovative spa treatments. Or get out on the ocean — rent a kayak or standup paddle board and tour the island by sea.

If you are traveling with children and are near Greenacres, FL, south of West Palm Beach in mid-November, stop by the fall festival that promotes healthy living and wellness with a green market, fitness demonstrations and a kids’ zone.  Myrtle Beach, SC, has weekly beach yoga every Saturday in September and October. What could be more relaxing than practicing yoga while listening to the sound of waves rolling in, smelling the scent of salt air and feeling the rays of the sun? Your mind will enjoy the harmony while your body gets fit.

Because many of us are taking a proactive approach to our health by eating better and exercising, we see more marinas, resorts and communities offer healthy boating lifestyle activities and services. They realize that often when we go on vacation or take a break from our daily routine, we tend to abandon wellness habits that make us feel and look better. As a result, boaters are seizing the opportunity to maintain their healthy home practices as they cruise.

We are also noticing more festivals focused on healthy foods, local produce that is sustainably grown and outdoor activities that help the whole family get in shape together. These festivals weave a fabric of healthy-minded attendees and encourage support for their activities in local communities.

In my hometown of Baltimore every Saturday in the summer and early fall, a local farmers’ market sells nutritious and delicious wares a few blocks from Harborview Marina in the Inner Harbor. When possible, I try to buy local produce and enjoy greeting my neighbors and friends while walking through the market. It’s a special pleasure see people arriving by dinghy to pick up fresh fruit and veggies for the day, because they’re making the extra effort to replace the convenience of cans and prepackaged food with meals that take more work but are kinder to their bodies. Some even take a Bird, the latest fad in motorized scooters, and zip over for their fresh fix. Whatever way you get there, supporting local farmers while maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a win-win proposition.

Sarah Sullivan is a marketing communications consultant for the health/wellness industry. Contact her at [email protected]

Fall Wellness Festivals & Events

Amelia Island Wellness Festival

November 9-11

Offers choices of fitness classes, including yoga, meditation, nutrition, music and beach workouts

Complimentary Beach Yoga

Myrtle Beach, SC

Every Saturday in September and October

Free yoga sessions along the Atlantic Ocean, all levels welcome and no experience necessary

Fall Fitness Festival

Greenacres, FL

November 18

Promotes healthy living and wellness with a green market, fitness demonstrations and kids’ zone

Hawaii Yoga Festival

Pahoa, HI

October 9-14

Hawaiian culture, yoga, wellness treatments, food included for pass holders

Key West Yoga & Wellness Fest

April 4-7, 2019

Combines tropical island culture with a celebration of the mind, body and spirit

SUP Yoga Center

St. Augustine, FL

Year-round daily standup paddleboard yoga classes for all ages

Stand & Paddle Events

Naples, FL

November 1

Pro Watercross SUPcross Tour

Florida Rambler, Kayak under a Full Moon 2019

Evening kayak and canoe excursions by starlight all across Florida