The gentle crashing of waves, the feel of sand between your toes, the vast horizon of the sea stretching beyond your sight; a trip to the beach is often seen as a much-anticipated, enjoyable experience. Not only does it provide a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of city life, but numerous studies have also highlighted its positive effects on our physical and mental health.
For instance, a comprehensive study by the British Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs reveals that exposure to marine and coastal environments significantly enhances human well-being. This may well explain why the Italian island of Sardinia boasts some of the world's oldest inhabitants. Indeed, the allure of the sea is more than just about its beauty. We've waded deep into the ocean of extensive research to share with you 7 surprising, science-backed ways being by the sea benefits both body and mind.
1. Better Mental Health in Adulthood for Children
A study spanning 18 countries has found that children who spend a significant amount of time near the sea or other "blue spaces" such as rivers and lakes, grow up to be adults with better mental health. The research indicates that exposure to such environments during childhood can have a long-lasting positive effect on mental well-being.
2. Boost of Creativity
The color blue has long been associated with calm and tranquility, but did you know it could also enhance creativity? According to a study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal, being exposed to the color blue, such as the sea or sky, can give a creative boost. So next time you're stuck on a problem, maybe a trip to the beach could help you find a solution.
3. Sense of Calm
Acoustic environments can have negative or positive effects on human health and wellbeing. A study has shown that the acoustic environment of the beach can have a positive effect on human well-being. The soothing sounds of the ocean can help to reduce stress and anxiety and relax the nervous system, providing a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
4. Grounding Effect
Ever felt a sense of peace and calm when you walk barefoot on the beach? This is known as "earthing" and it has been shown to boost your mood. Our feet have the most nerve endings per square inch compared to the rest of the body, and walking barefoot in nature helps us to connect with the Earth and feel grounded. Modern life often separates us from such contact, and this disconnection may contribute to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.
5. Better Sleep
The beach may be the solution to your sleep problems. A 2015 study from the United Kingdom found that people sleep an average of 47 minutes longer after spending time at the beach compared to those who weren't at the beach. Although the exact reason is still unclear, it is believed that the relaxing nature of the beach allows people to let go of stress and get a good night's rest.
6. Protect the Brain from Dementia
A recent study by the University of Cambridge suggests that swimming in cold water could help protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. The study found that people who regularly swim in cold water have higher levels of a so-called 'cold-shock' protein in their blood. This protein helps form synapses and has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.
7. Nature’s Skincare
The curative powers of seawater for skin problems have long been celebrated, but is there scientific evidence to back these claims? Indeed, a 2016 study delved into the potential benefits of deep seawater on skin health. The study confirmed that seawater from the deeper parts of the ocean, contains a wealth of minerals and other components that could be beneficial to the skin.
In conclusion, the lure of the sea isn't just a superficial call to its beauty, but a deep connection to our physical and mental well-being, supported by scientific evidence. The waves and the horizon offer a sense of calm and grounding that can alleviate stress, anxiety, and even sleep problems. The color blue of the sea and sky can boost creativity, while the grounding effect of walking barefoot on the beach can help us connect with the Earth. Furthermore, the healing properties of seawater have been backed by studies suggesting it has potential skincare benefits. In a world of increasing urbanization and digital saturation, the seaside provides a vital respite for the body and mind. Whether you are seeking relaxation, creativity, or health benefits, a trip to the beach can offer a wealth of benefits. So the next time you find yourself yearning for the call of the sea, know that it isn't just an emotional pull, but a scientifically supported one that promises myriad benefits for your body and mind.