Blue Health: The benefits of being by the sea
The summer season is inevitably synonymous with time spent by the coast. There seems to be a universal magnetic attraction to the sea, its reliable beauty and calming effects forever luring us in. The water has been a muse for artists and creatives for centuries; the waves encourage you closer, facilitating afternoons spent riding the thrills on a board or cutting through its glassy surface with your oars rhythms. The ocean’s dynamic flow, scents, sounds and scenes break through the fast-paced tempo of daily life providing a dependable therapeutic space.
There are plenty of science-backed benefits that support our enticement to the beach. With a wealth of evidence reinforcing the mind, body and soul benefits that time spent at the sea provides. Science states that there’s more to our natural attraction to the ocean than its humble aesthetics, bold movements and roaring noise. From easing your anxiety to alleviating physical symptoms such as hay-fever, being by the sea does wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing. Wading through the list of benefits, we’ve summarised the best of the bunch below…
Have you ever spent time at the beach, and noticed that you feel calmer and happier? There may be a scientific reason for your enhanced mood. There have been a number of studies conducted to analyse the benefits the sea has on our personal wellbeing. Spending time immersed in nature, specifically the sea serves as a great reminder to be mindful and remain present. The ocean’s hypnotic state and lulling sound is easy for the mind to process, encouraging it to ease into a meditative state - similar to that experienced when practising yoga - which does wonders for your mental health.
This study also complements the theory that being surrounded by the ocean and immersed within its environment encourages our use of “soft attention”, which we rarely use in our day-to-day lives. Spending time in the simple-natural surroundings of the beach helps to restore our minds and the soothing crash of the waves helps to de-stress us and consequently has the potential to boost our immune systems.
The calming and anxiety-reducing effect that the sea provides can also be accredited to the magnesium and sodium rich sea air. Some other properties that can be traced in the sea air are calcium, chloride and sulphate. Studies have also found that the moving water of the sea generates negative ions in the air, which counteract positive ions. Negative ions are very beneficial to the human body and have a positive effect on your overall well being. If you’ve ever left the beach feeling happier, feeling more alert and de-stressed then this could be a result of these negative ions in the air. They do an excellent job at increasing the rate at which your body can absorb oxygen and help to balance out your serotonin levels.
Positive ions, on the contrary, are said to be harmful to the human body. An excess of positive ions can make you feel drained, tired and lethargic. There are plenty of benefits of being in areas with high-levels of negative ions. There negative ions can be found in abundance in nature, such as at the beach, waterfalls or mountains. Time spent in these locations helps to re-balance the over-exposure of positive ions caused by electronics such as mobile devices and computers.
Not only is the sea good for our mental health and wellbeing but it also has several physical attributes. An ocean swim has positive effects on the mental wellbeing but we should also be sure not to overlook the physical benefits of swimming in the sea; as it gets the body moving and can be a great form of exercise. Similarly, a walk beside the sea ticks both boxes as you’re getting active and breathing in the sea air, as would more strenuous water activities and sports such as wakeboarding, kayaking, wind-surfing and paddle-boarding. This increased physical activity, often associated with time spent at the sea, is also beneficial for catching some easy zzz’s come nighttime.
If you’re finding yourself struggling to sleep at night then a trip to the beach may just be your next alternative to Kalms or a good mug of Horlicks. Often free of toxins and pollutants, the sea air is often cleaner than that of cities and towns. The fresher air typically includes more oxygen and after a day spent inhaling the clean, oxygen-saturated air you’re far more likely to enjoy a quality night's sleep. In addition to enhanced sleep, the sea air has also been said to help clear sinuses, alleviate symptoms of hay fever and the common cold and relieve respiratory problems such as asthma.
A dip in the sea-water has been shown to do wonders for the skin. Packed with an array of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, and potassium, the sea is a great healer for many skin conditions. Whilst spending time in the ocean, the healing process of infections or cuts on the body is increased. Sea water is also a weak antiseptic, and some studies have shown that the sea water can help ease some people’s symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. (It’s always advisable to conduct your own research or consult a medical professional).
With its impressive positive properties and steadfast therapeutic benefits, the ocean is a wonderfully wild natural healer. With its bounty of benefits, is it any wonder that we’re all so drawn to the sea? So, perhaps it’s time to add a trip to the coast to your summertime agenda, whether you fancy a seaside picnic or afternoon spent SUP’ing or swimming, you’ll be reaping the benefits with each moment spent wrapped in the water’s enchantment.
Written by Bethany Birch / https://www.its-wavemedia.com