The beach is a refreshing and enjoyable haven for most people. With its cool breeze, crashing waves, and calming vibe, a visit to the beach can, without a doubt, ease even the most devoted workaholic. So, if simply being at the beach is relaxing according to your intuition, your intuition is correct! Yet, scientific research can explain this feeling of relaxation and reveal how the sea breeze can improve our health. Did you know that even just the seaside air can be healthy for you? So let’s dive in, shall we?
The beach can offer a broad and rich sensory experience. In other words, eyeing the scenery while feeling sand under your feet as you hear the waves and wind, all while drawing in the maritime air, can stimulate pretty much all your senses. The blue oceanic hue produces feelings of calm and peace, and the color blue itself is associated with creativity. Moreover, according to scientists, staring at the ocean can change our brain waves’ frequency, placing us in a relaxed, meditative state. Apart from the ocean’s beautiful color, the sound of the waves effectively relaxes your nervous system. This unwinding is due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved in relaxing your body and slowing things down. Even the simple act of touching warm sand can help you relax. But, the sea breeze, in particular, plays a unique role.
What’s So Healthy About The Seaside Air?
Sea air is a rich combination of seawater, salt, iodine, magnesium, and trace elements. Research says that this improves your ability to absorb oxygen. When our bodies use oxygen more efficiently, we usually feel more alert. Breathing in sea air also soothes irritation from substances that make you sneeze or cough. People with cystic fibrosis may experience improved lung function by inhaling the salty air. Those with hay fever may also benefit from a trip to the beach as the maritime air may blow pollen and other allergens away.
We are seeing that the sea breeze does a lot of good for our respiratory organs and skin. Additionally, it boosts our immunity and also improves circulation. Visiting the beach may be especially beneficial for asthmatics and people with allergies or skin problems. Dry air and pollution in the city are common issues for these patients, so being in a fresh and clean environment remarkably improves their health. In addition, inhaling sea air can make phlegm easier to cough out, mainly by loosening the mucus that tends to build in our airways.
Other research has shown that the sea breeze may even prevent lung cancer and drop cholesterol levels. Researchers exposed human lung cancer cells to sea air and examined the effects on the genes. They found sea air affected these tumor cells at the gene level, similar to how new cancer therapies and cholesterol reducers affect tumor cells. Research is still ongoing about the extent of improvement sea air can have on our health, but these findings are definitely exciting!
The Reconnecting Effect of the Beach
Socially, the beach can also positively affect us. Stress levels are lower, and immunity is much higher. These are ideal conditions to encourage us to live healthier lifestyles and build closer community connections.
Overall, this tells us that reconnecting with nature is healthy for us. Natural substances found in seawater like vitamins, pigments (mainly antioxidants), polyphenols (micronutrients), and phycotoxins (antimicrobial substances) all have powerful beneficial effects on our bodies. Remarkably, the beach does much more than just calm the mind—the maritime scenery also rejuvenates and relaxes the body and allows it to function more efficiently.
How Healthy is Seaside Air?
If those were not enough, here are the other health benefits you can enjoy if you live by the sea:
- Relaxed mind and body – The waves’ sound, color, and feel have a calming and rejuvenating effect on our mind, relaxing the body.
- Improved mood – Studies show beach or island dwellers are generally happier than their continental counterparts. Scientists attribute this difference to maritime iodine, which regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, reducing stress and anxiety.
- Better sleep – The maritime air improves our body’s ability to absorb oxygen, helping us rest well. Plus, the activities, water, sunlight, and fresh air all positively contribute to better sleep.
- Vitamin D – This essential vitamin is fundamental for our bones, immune system, digestive system, and even our mental health. Vitamin D also gives you healthier hair, nails, and skin.
- Healthier lungs – The rich sea breeze helps clear your lungs and sinuses for easier breathing. This cleansing effect also reduces the need for antibiotics.
- Stronger heart – The sea level has the highest air pressure, which means access to the highest oxygen levels on Earth. This privileged access to oxygen reduces the heart’s effort to pump blood throughout the body.
- Robust immune system – People living by the sea have a lower risk of getting illnesses or infections.
- Benefits of magnesium – The magnesium-rich maritime breeze does wonders for muscle function, blood clotting, and production of thyroid hormones.
- Exercise – Swimming, diving, and other sports have essential health benefits. Swimming and diving can positively affect a person with fluid retention problems or heaviness on the legs. Floating in water also redirects blood from the extremities back to the brain, helping you to not only think clearly but also become more alert.
Take Home Notes
Clearly, we cannot discount the numerous health benefits of going to the beach. Who knew just how healthy “vitamin sea” could be? Of course, you do not necessarily have to live by the beach to reap its benefits. So, even just visiting for the day can already have a positive impact.