Heading for the beach isn’t just fun it’s also healthy. Two leading researchers say the regenerative powers of sand, sun and surf are scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve sleep. Plus, says Dr. Deborah Cracknell, author of “By the Sea,” the vitamin D you absorb not only helps build strong bones but also boosts your immune system, digestive health and mental well-being plus it has anti-cancer properties.
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Studies confirm that a simple walk along the beach can give you an extra 47 minutes of rest each night, says Cracknell.
“One suggestion is that walking by the coast brings back memories of childhood holidays and these enhanced feeling of being away from daily routine create a more intensely restorative experience which results in better and longer sleep,” she explains.
Also, in natural locations near beaches and waterfalls, the air is charged with negative ions which are generated when air molecules are broken apart by sunlight or the movement of air and water.
These natural ions can help improve mood, relieve stress and aid sleep as well as help ease depression, according to experts.
“When you are in the sea, just paddling or swimming, surfing and body boarding, you’ll be getting all the benefits of exercise as well,” says Cracknell. “It’s no coincidence in my mind that the “Blue Zone” communities that boast the most people living over the age of 100 still in robust health are all located close to the sea.”
Dr. Heidi Hanna, PhD., executive director of the American Institute of Stress, tells Newsmax that recent research has demonstrated many other health benefits of spending time at the beach including:
*Improved circulation and the release of toxic stress hormones
*Enhanced state of calm from the meditative effect of listening to the ocean’s waves
*Relaxation of the nervous system due to a reduction of city and workplace noise and technology
*Lifted mood from exposure to natural light
*Reduced inflammation and improved immune function from breathing the salt air.
Once you leave the beach you don’t have to give up all of its restorative effects. Here are Hanna’s 5 simple steps to slip into a beach state of mind:
- Take off your shoes
- Breathe in a relaxed, rhythmic state, ideally 6 breaths per minute
- Listen to the sounds of the ocean on your mobile device or CD
- Engage your sense. Use aromatherapy to enhance the relaxation response. Try peppermint, eucalyptus, lime or coconut to mimic the scents of the beach.
- Focus on the positive—thinks about someone or something you feel grateful for, and try to shift your mind and body into a state of appreciation.