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Old 09-16-2009, 02:44 PM   #1
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30 years ago I read a book about a veterinarian who, after hearing his doctor say he didn't have long to live, bought a boat and sailed away to live another 25 years. This story has always intrigued me.

It has always been my experience that I feel better both mentally and physically when I am on the water boating. In fact, my health increases markedly over time the longer I am aboard. It is not that I just feel healthier but I am more healthy.

For instance my blood pressure decreased to a level last seen when I was 30 years younger. My muscular tone and strength increased as well as endurance. I have reached a general feeling of well being and peace with myself. My grey hair has not changed back to brown but I have less aches and pains.

How about you. Have you experienced positive changes in your health? Is the changes in your body and mind more than just a nice tan? If you have become more healthy what is the cause? What do you do to increase your health? Is it just me, an isolated case, or have you noticed the same results?

I would appreciate hearing from you about your health and well being experiences while boating; power, sail, rowing or paddle. It would be extremely interesting to see if others are noticing positive changes. Replies can come to this forum directly or if you wish to my email steveston2@gmail.com

I am in the process of writing a blog called 'Healthy Boating' in order to gather information on boating health, especially for seniors but for people of any age. Hopefully it will become a reference resource for boaters to get ideas and encouragement from each other on increasing our health.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:03 PM   #2
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An interesting and, hopefully, rewarding topic.

I too am interested to see what health changes our members have experienced whilst cruising. I am sure I am not alone so please keep the discussion here in open forum rather than by emails which cannot be read by everyone. It is, after all, a topic which affects us all.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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This isn’t about myself but one of my mums older friends was diagnosed with some form of cancer, I don’t know what it was but apparently without a good outlook.

He decided not to go through the usual treatment methods and enjoy himself while he was still able to. He and his wife decided to have the “holiday of a lifetime” so I think she took early retirement or something, anyway they both went on a round the world trip seeing anything and everything they always wanted to, some of this was on cruiseliners but mostly just flying.

After 18 months or so they returned and he went for a check up to see what the deal was with his situation and the tumour had shrunk to a size where it was operable and he had it removed and went through the chemo etc and went into remission.

I think the stress and the day to day hassles of our modern lives is a major cause of ill health so Sailing/escaping/being stress free etc balances you out and helps you keep mentally and physically in top condition.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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Hi, guys,

I agree--If one is doing physical activity, one's physical condition is going to improve. And, contrary to what many non-boaters think, sailing (and living aboard/cruising) is a good physical activity. I'm glad to hear that your health has improved, Apolima.

There are many reasons that people's blood pressure rises above or falls below healthy levels. We all, surely, know of folks that cannot endure much work or family related stress w/o blood pressure rising. As such, if one is enjoying a "relaxing" time sailing...it would make sense that one's high BP would drop.

Many cruisers choose the cruising life in order to stay physically active in retirement and to remove themselves from too much land-based stress. Its a working combination and, in general, a healthy lifestyle, IMHO. There are many opportunities to over extend and abuse one's body while cruising--and a discussion of our strengths, improving them, living with our limitations, etc, would be good, too.

There are many common sense ways to approach a healthy lifestyle and this is of interest to many cruisers. Many people, seniors in particular, are very interested in improving their health (and extending their life). Frequently, such folks are taken advantage of though. So many times a vendor will try to take a common sense approach to improved health and spin it for a buck. That tends to happen a lot here in the USA ad I've seen it in UK and Europe too--I wonder if it is a world-wide problem or not? Our healthcare system is geared towards drugs and procedures--so our healthcare system often leaves folks to their own devices when it comes time to make general lifestyle changes that work for the good of our health. The doc may say "get more exercise" or "stay away from stress" but we often need more info and assistance than that to take the right actions. So, that leaves a gaping hole for the common "snake oil salesman" to jump in and "help"... unfortunately. For example, since herbs and vitamins are not US FDA regulated, we have all kinds of such vendors and service providers (with advice) regarding these "supplements." In many cases, the US consumer is taken advantage of by such folks as well as by "health advisors" and the like. Same thing happens with diet plans and even extends to personal trainers and the like. Many opportunities for the consumer to be taken advantage of, unfortunately. Well, I'll get off my soapbox now...

With our interest in good health in our cruising environment, I hope that we can have candid discussion here about things we can do to improve our health and enjoy our cruising!

Good health to all Cruiser Log readers
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:24 PM   #5
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I can't yet add real long-term personal health experience of cruising, only managed 3 1/2months (August to mid-November) in Northern Europe last year and felt fine and stayed cold free despite not having heating on board my catamaran, but I had a psychologically positive experience due to sailing many years ago.

It was Friday, it had been a frustrating business week and by 12 o'clock I was in a foul and depressive mood and I left for home, planning to stay in bed by myself the next 24 hours shut away from this awful world. Driving along, 2kms from home I spied ..... sailboats on the lake!!!!

5 minutes later I was on the phone to a boat rental place, 30 minutes later I was in the harbour and 15 minutes after arriving there I was on the water in a dinghy.

A further 15 minutes later had me back enjoying being alive, even a later near capsize and dampness did nothing to quell my spirits! I had a good weekend!

Yes, for me sailing is a healthy environment!

Roger
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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First I want to preface this by saying we are not live aboard sailors but sail alot. For the past 7 year's we've put the most miles under our keel of anyone in our club. This year not so much due to family issues. I'm not sure about myself. I do manage stress better and have lower blood pressure but I think it has more to do with quiting a job I hated and finding one I love.

But, I can see the difference in my husband. We used to do a lot of camping. When he could get out in the canoe in the early morning and paddle alone he was much happier and more patient with our then small children.

Since we took up sailing in 2001, he has become a happier person. He used to have a very gloomy outlook on life and our relationship wasn't good. Now things are much better. He has a very physically difficult job and arthritis but on the boat he'll do anything. This includes helping everyone else in the marina. Tim is a shop foreman/ truck mechanic and will climb anyone's mast at almost any time so he is in demand. Now if it could cure the cancer in his left eye that is taking his vision, that would be something.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:21 AM   #7
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First of all I wish good health to all you sailors and boaters

We have a powerboat because we just live too far from the sea here in West Texas. My husband has a very stressful and challenging job. He forgets about all his worries when it’s “Lake Time”. His blood pressure goes down and he enjoys all the physical work of getting the Fifth Wheel ready along with the boat. Even though it is a turn key boat, there is always something that needs attention. We always have a great time at the lake. Being in his boat is his therapy.

Apolima, I am glad to hear that you are now in better health. This is fantastic and you are doing what you love to do. Good sailing to you!
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:13 PM   #8
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It is great hearing all these positive personal experiences. Of course boating affects each of us in our own way. There seems to be something therapeutic about water weather we are on it, in it or near it.

I just made a new post in my blog in which I quote a survey which seems to prove that boaters enjoy many more benefits than non-boaters. It sort of confirms to me what I have been observing for some time.

We are pulling up the anchor this morning and sailing back into Puerto Escondido to get water. Last night we had a few guests on board for sundowners. Apparently someone left the drinking water faucet running slowly. Phyllis noticed it about 2 am but we lost all but 2 gallons out of the main tank. I like to turn off the pump switch when I go to bed but my mate had grumbled about not being able to get water instantly so to keep peace we leave it on. I think the switch will remain off at night now.

Have fun everyone
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