|Posted by moodhacker on March 17, 2018 at 9:50 AM|
Studies from the United States and Britain have found beach-dwelling promotes improved happiness, general wellbeing and even brain function.
It’s perhaps why residents of the US state of Hawaii have been ranked the happiest in the whole country for six consecutive Gallop surveys.
- Research by Kobe University in Japan found people who live in a house with a view of the ocean are calmer than those who don’t.
It mirrors the findings of data published in Health Place, which concluded that Brits who live by the coast report better physical and mental health.
- According to Medical Daily, sea water contains minerals including magnesium, potassium and iodine that could help the body fight infection.
- And breathing in the sea air has respiratory benefits that could result in a better night’s sleep, it said.
Clinical psychologist Richard Shuster told NBC that the ‘zen’ feeling induced by being at the beach comes down to a number of drives — and not just the benefit of vitamin D.
- “The colour blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” Dr Shuster said.
- Staring out at the ocean also resulted in a kind of meditative state, he said, and actually changed the frequency of brain waves.
- The sound of waves coming in, crashing and then receding again can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing us down and promoting relaxation.“It kind of de-stimulates our brains,” Shuster said.
- And even the physical sensation of sand between your toes is good for your wellbeing.
A study published in Psychiatry Research examined the brains of people who regularly meditated over an eight-week period and found significant improvements.
It found the part of the brain responsible for stress emotions shrank, while the areas that produce empathy, reasoning and memory grew.
Shuster said the beach was a good spot to wind down and promote these kinds of outcome.
“Focus on how your body feels warm from the rays of the sun, focus on what it feels like to have your feet in the sand, breathe deep and smell the ocean air,” he said.If you needed an excuse to hit the beach, your health is a pretty good one.
1. YOUR BODY
Benefit #1: Vitamin D
It’s pretty common knowledge that we can get Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. “n humans, Vitamin D is much more than just a simple vitamin that we need to hit a target RDA of. Vitamin D is a hormonal precursor and science is constantly linking deficiency of Vitamin D to increased incidence of many diseases. Ironically, while Vitamin D is readily available (at least part of the year in most parts of the world) for free if produced from sun exposure, people are surprisingly deficient in it these days”
One study at the Oslo University Hospital in Norway found that the benefits of sun exposure far surpassed any risk:
“It can be estimated that increased sun exposure to the Norwegian population might at worst result in 200-300 more CMM deaths per year, but it would elevate the vitamin D status by about 25 nmol/l (nanomoles per liter) and might result in 4,000 fewer internal cancers and about 3,000 fewer cancer deaths overall”
Other studies have found links between low-vitamin D levels and Parkinson’s Disease, bone disease, blood clots, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. A recent study even found that regular sun exposure helped women to live longer. Yet another study found that regular sun exposure could cut breast cancer risk in half!
Since we can’t all live at the beach year-round, it is possible to get Vitamin D at home. Obviously, sun exposure can accomplish this at home or at the beach. For times of year when sun exposure isn’t possible, I take a supplement of Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day).
Benefit #2: Magnesium
“Magnesium is the eighth most abundant mineral on earth, and the third most abundant in sea water. More importantly, it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and it is necessary in over 300 reactions within the body.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.
Sea water and sand are a great source of magnesium and it is often better to get magnesium transdermally (through the skin). Unfortunately, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb in this way for those who are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other health conditions.”
The salt water itself is also detoxifying and helps pull impurities from the body and skin. Salt water inhibits bacterial growth and skin infections.
Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp and especially nettle (in herb form available here) are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you have a deficiency, it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone.
Benefit #3: Grounding/Earthing
A less common benefit of time at the beach is the grounding/earthing effect it provides. As I explained before:
“Basically, the theory is that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth (a “grounding” force) on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of free radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the ground balances this out as it is a negative grounding charge.
Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and especially with the high prevalence of Electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phone waves, many of us have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.
Throughout history, humans have spent time outdoors much more than we do in modern time and have been in direct contact with the soil. From walking on the ground barefoot, to gardening or tilling the soil, humans have always touched the earth… until recently.
The sand and ocean water and both naturally conductive materials and both help ground the body and remove excess positive electrons. For the same basic reason that we ground electrical outlets to avoid the build up of excess positive charge, our bodies need the same ground effect.”
To get this benefit, a person must be barefoot and in direct contact with the sand or ocean water, and this also works at home in direct contact with soil or sand…
Benefit #4: Great Hair and Skin
So this one is purely vain, but I love the way my skin and hair feel after time at the beach! It is probably the only time I can roll out of bed and have my hair actually look good!
Benefit #5: Relaxation
Stress is bad for health and the beach is wonderful for relaxation. The soothing sound of waves, the air infused with healthy ions, and the massage of sand on the feet
2. YOUR MIND
There is something soothing about the sound of ocean waves, the smell of salt water, and the feeling of warm sand beneath your toes. Having grown up near the beach, I always classified my happiness on the beach as no more than nostalgia. Yet, recent studies prove that a beach-type environment can have a profound impact on our brains and mental health.
Although few people deny the importance of brain health, most of us don't focus as much effort on taking care of our brains as we do our bodies. The misnomer that physical fitness trumps mental health is at our detriment. The reality is that we need balance, both mentally and physically.
Numerous studies help us appreciate why the beach may be the premier destination for us to unwind and recharge our minds.
Listen to Crashing Waves
Several months ago I partook in a deprivation float (the practice that many superstars such as, Steph Curry swear by). As my mind reached a meditative state, I could not help but hear a sound similar to that of waves crashing gently on the beach. This repetitive sound that was created as a result of my rhythmic breaths and my ears being submerged in salt water instantly put me at ease.
"These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people," says Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University. "It's like they're saying: "Don't worry, don't worry, don't worry." The sound of waves can help you achieve a meditative state, which is proven to heal and strengthen your brain.
Remove the Blues
Studies have shown that different colors often produce different psychological, emotional, and physical effects. The color blue, for instance, is often used in marketing material to convey a sense of calmness. The Global Healing Center advises individuals to actually surround themselves in blue as a way to reduce stress.
According to Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist, he agrees that blue has a profound calming effect on people. "Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves' frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state," says Shuster.
Smell the Ocean Mist
When you first step out on the sand and allow your lungs to be filled with salty misty air, your brain may be receiving instant benefits. The negative ions (oxygen ions with an extra electron attached, produced via water molecules) in the ocean air can actually help calm your brain.
Negative ions have been shown to have a pronounced anti-depressant effect as well. As early as 1932, American research engineer Dr. Clarence Hansell noticed that the mood of one of his colleagues fluctuated in response to the type of ions - cheerful when subjected to positive ions and gloomy when subjected to negative ones.
Subsequent studies have found that the act of negatively ionized air -- the kind you receive when you get outside for a gulp of fresh air -- can alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Feel the Sand Between Your Toes
Grounding, otherwise known as walking barefoot, has been proven to have a number of stimulating benefits to our bodies and minds. The reason is that our feet contain a rich network of nerves and acupuncture points. Our feet are able to absorb free ions on the earth surface in much the same way that our lungs are able to absorb ions in the air.
A report in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shed some more light on these benefits. The earth is negatively charged, so when you walk barefoot, you're connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. The result is one that many of us feel as soon as we kick off our shoes. Walking barefoot on the beach can trigger tingling warm sensations produced as a result of us "grounding" to earth.
"There are all these cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by water" said Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and best-selling author of the Blue Mind. "Once you get into it, you realize that it's chemistry, it's biology, it's physiology. It's deeply personal but it's also strong science."
In 2012, a University of Exeter study found that simply living within close proximity to a beach improves one's health and wellbeing.
sources: Wellness Mama, Inc.com