People have long theorized that living near the ocean is beneficial to one's health, and now there is data to back that theory up. According to a study conducted by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter in England, those who live close to the ocean are healthier than those who live inland. The report analyzed data from England's 2001 census, consisting of 48 million people. Taking into account age, gender, and socio-economic status, the results indicated that those who lived at the shore were in finer fettle than their non-coastal counterparts.
The study concluded that there was an association between visiting the shore and overall wellness, but the lead researchers stated that this type of study could not prove a direct cause and effect. However, previous scientific studies have focused on what exactly it is about the coast that stimulates well being.
Either way, it sounds like the perfect excuse to move to the beach that we've all been searching for.
Here are five reasons that seaside living improves health:
1. The “Om" Factor
Photo Credit: Flickr, Matt JJP
Do you know that feeling of relaxation that overcomes your body when dig your toes in the sand? It's not in your head. The ocean has been proven to inspire creative thinking, reduce anxiety, and promote compassionate thinking, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, scientist and author of “Blue Mind," suggests.
2. An Active Lifestyle
Living by the beach encourages physical activity, ultimately leading to a healthier lifestyle, the Exeter study indicated. Why are people more active at the shore? The coastal paths and beaches encourage outdoor activity, Dr. Michael White, the lead research on the Exeter study said.
3. Breathing Fresh, Salt Air
There is no better smell than fresh sea air, but start taking deeper breaths at the beach because it is good for you, too. The salty sea air by the coast does wonders for the respiratory system and those with asthma, bronchitis, sinus pressure, and coughing will notice a difference in their condition after just one day at the beach. Ocean air also contains negatively charged hydrogen ions that help absorb oxygen and balance out serotonin levels, resulting in more energy and diminished depression.
4. Extra Vitamin D
The reflection of the sun off of the sand and the ocean is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. As long as you're smothered in SPF, getting some sunshine everyday is good for your health. Vitamin D from the sun improves autoimmune protection, increases endorphins, lowers the risk of cancer, and enhances bone health. According to research conducted by the King's College London's Institute of Dermatology, skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun even with sunscreen - so pile it on and get outside!
5. Swimming in Salt Water
There is no greater healer than salt water. Swimming in the ocean enhances the immune system, hydrates skin, and boosts circulation. Seawater that is rich in magnesium also has been shown to relax muscles and helps induce sleep. And with swimming one of the greatest forms of exercise, you're better off paddling around the ocean than in the pool.