In the superyacht world of extraordinary luxury and service, achieving peak performance as a crew member is far beyond the flawless execution of marine operations. There is an intricate relationship between movement and mindset that can support both physicality and mental resilience. Here we explore the scientific secrets to unlocking performance, in an industry where the extraordinary has become the norm. 

Recent research has shed light on the intricate relationship between the body and mind, revealing an inherent connection embedded within the structure of the brain. The study by Washington University School of Medicine has unveiled the remarkable finding that regions of the brain responsible for movement govern not only physical actions but also interface with networks involved in cognitive processes, strategic planning and even the regulation of vital involuntary bodily functions like blood pressure and heart rate. 

The real connection between mind and body

This ground-breaking revelation emphasises the integration of mind and body within our neural architecture, offering fascinating insights into the holistic nature of human functions. The research also supports the knowledge we have about the profound connection between mental and physical fitness, and why nurturing both aspects of wellbeing is crucial for unlocking peak performance onboard superyachts.

But before delving deeper, here are some fascinating fitness statistics to satisfy your curiosity:

  • One study revealed that aerobic exercise can increase cortical thickness, promoting better brain health, even in individuals as young as 20.
  • In the latest review from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, out of 128,119 participants, physical activity was identified as a highly beneficial tool for managing stress and so leading to better focus.

These numbers cannot be ignored when striving for exceptional service onboard. 

Why superyachts need to take action

A 2018 survey revealed that 82% of superyacht crew experienced stress or mental health issues during their employment. As a result, almost 50% have considered leaving the yachting sector, but most choose not to because of the financial benefits.

The implications of these findings are alarming and demand immediate attention from the industry. If left unaddressed, the consequences will have a great impact on crew recruitment and retention. It’s clear that proactive measures need to be taken to prioritise crew mental health and wellbeing, ensuring a sustainable and thriving future for the industry. 

Read about the superyacht crew mental health crisis >>>

Movement is the secret weapon that drives high-performance crews

The power of movement drives the discipline of cultivating a resilient mindset. The mind, when honed to its full potential, becomes the catalyst for remarkable physical feats. By cultivating a resolute mindset, we propel our body to push beyond conventional limits, turning what seemed impossible into the realms of the achievable.

Physical activity is not solely about achieving a sculpted physique or looking great on the beach; it also acts as a mood-enhancing elixir. Because when you engage in a workout or break a sweat, your body releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin—the mighty neurotransmitters responsible for the euphoria and contentment coursing through your veins.

Even dedicating just 20 minutes to exercise between watch-keeping is a worthwhile investment.

But it’s not just about looking good.

Picture this: stress levels soaring, demanding routines that require top-tier performance, and the need for an escape.

Here is where exercise becomes the ultimate stress-busting warrior. It unleashes norepinephrine and endorphins—the biochemical cavalry charging in to save the day. It effectively improves sleep quality, which is crucial for combatting stress while at sea.

Shifting our focus to mental strength, exercise acts as an intelligence serum for your brain, enhancing blood flow and oxygen delivery, igniting a neural inferno.

  • It births new neurons, strengthens connections, and enhances cognitive function.
  • Need to remember something whilst on the bridge? Check.
  • Focusing like a laser on delivering silver service? Double check.
  • Achieving overall brain brilliance for your guests? Absolutely.

Exercise also serves as a potent tool against mental disorders. Engaging in regular physical activity can be a game-changer in preventing and managing conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders and cognitive decline.

Exercise is the all-natural prescription for a happier, healthier mind.

But that’s not all! With each workout conquered, your self-esteem skyrockets, and your body image takes centre stage. Setting fitness goals and witnessing physical improvements ignite inner confidence—an unwavering belief in your superpowers.

Think of fitness as a social dance. Picture yourself in a tribe of like-minded individuals, high-fiving and motivating one another to achieve greatness. Exercise brings people together, fostering a sense of belonging and providing the support needed to conquer any challenge.

Scientifically, exercise doesn’t just sculpt your body; it shapes your brain too. It boosts brain regions like the memory-rich hippocampus, generating new neurons and forming intricate connections.

Growth factors surge, ensuring the vitality and survival of your brain.

So, embrace the symbiotic relationship between mental and physical fitness. Unleash your potential; a sound mind and a mighty body are yours to conquer the seas.

~ Written by our fitness expert