Sailing is good for you

Is that a Hanse or a negative ion and seratonin generator?

We all know going for a sail makes us feel better but few people know why. The sea can literally recharge our batteries and bring us back into balance, while the sun and moon can reset our body clocks. We are diurnal creatures and if we allow our systems to get out of balance, the health consequences are well known and include depression, insomnia, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiac arrest.

So can you get depressed buying a boat? I don’t think this has ever happened and here’s why. Seratonin and dopamine are what’s known as a neurotransmitters, which basically send chemicals through our brains that relate to very powerful driving forces inside us of liking and wanting or needing. When you first buy a Hanse or any other yacht you will get a rush exactly the same as if you had taken cocaine.

Don’t believe me? cocaine and dopamine. Cocaine has been taken for centuries to promote a feeling of energy and well being. Cocaine only works by stimulating our own dopamine chemical.

So now I’ve told you that you are a drug addict don’t panic. The initial elation of buying a boat will wear off as the dopamine level returns to normal. This is strangely enough a good thing other wise you would risk going manic and that would bring on psychosis. Then again I have met many mad skippers.

So what is happening is your seratonin levels are now taking over for the long run. These are the sustainable longer term happy chemicals. People who develop depression have been found to be very low in seratonin and most pharmaceutical based treatments are what is known as seratonin re-uptake inhibitors. This means they can only block the brains loss of seratonin so that it piles up instead of being reabsorbed. The problem is there are many side effects with weight gain being the worst which can lead to all sorts of health problems. But most people who have bought a yacht have no idea that it is actually a seratonin generator.

You’ve already had a big hit by buying the yacht and making yourself happy but now the real long term benefit switches in. The number one key to making your own seratonin is to be outside. Most people spend less than twenty minutes a day in the sun. It’s pretty hard to avoid the outdoors when on a yacht. To maximise seratonin uptake you need to remember the eyes are the key because there are special receptors in our eyes that get the whole process going.

• take your sunglasses off early morning… the dawn light will get the seratonin going early and glass will block your receptors in the eyes
• have breakfast on deck
• swim to a beach and do some yoga or just go for a walk (exercise will get seratonin going too)
• remove sunglasses again around midday for twenty minutes
• avoid sunburn during hottest parts of day
• Cocktails or drinks on sunset on deck… compulsory (signals body to switch to melatonin production as sun goes down)

Linked to Seratonin production is Vitamin D. Believe it or not three quarters of Australians are now considered deficient in this essential vitamin. Darker skinned people may need six times as much as lighter skinned people. A blood test is the only way to know if you are deficient but if you are it’s not just ricketts that you should worry about. You will not be able to absorb calcium so it leads to osteporosis. There is also evidence it will make you moody lead to depression, diabetes and heart disease and even cancer. The sailing solution is to do all of the above plus.

• expose arms to sun mid morning for twenty minutes
• do not use sunscreen in winter and only after 9 am in summer
• eat more fish (caught from the stern of course) or take fish oil tablets
• more nuts especially almonds at cocktail hour

By now you are determined to take a week off work just to make sure your seratonin and vitamin d levels are fine. Well it gets better. Insomnia is a huge problem with millions suffering from it leading to again a scary number of illnesses. Without a regular healthy sleeping pattern your immune system will falter making normal life almost impossible. American researchers though recently found that 5 days camping will basically reset your body clock.

Sailing and limiting alcohol intake at night is even more effective. So to cure insomnia follow these rules

• take the yacht away for 5 days
• try not to use mobile phones or iPads at night
• sail till tired
• cook a healthy meal
• try to limit drinks to sunset cocktail hour
• go to bed early

But wait there are even more benefits. Yes a set of steak knives does come with every yacht but all these health benefits come with negative ions!

This is the mystery one where no one is exactly sure what these invisible things do but the theory is they are essential for emotional wellbeing.

The office and your home are full of positive ions. Strangely enough they are NOT good for you while splashing water and especially seawater have negative ions.

Breaking waves and a bow a pushing through the sea will have.

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