Blue Spaces do something special strange to our brains
I can think of few other scenarios where I'd happily rid myself of practically all my clothes and lie on the floor, outdoors and in public. Except that when you're on the beach it's ok, isn't it? If you sat on your sun lounger fully clad you would be the odd one. People would stare at the sweaty nut-nut in boots.
Just the mere act of being near the sea has been scientifically proven to be good for your health. "Visible blue spaces" as the scientists working on the study put it, will lower psychological stress lulling us with a sensation of calm, openness, depth and wisdom.
Apparently, it's the blue colour of the sea that our tired and over-stimulated brains particularly like. It has something to do with it being a natural backdrop, which naturally calms the brain.
But you don't need a scientist to tell you that the beach is good for you; the heat of the sun on your skin, the sound of the waves, lying on a soft surface which moulds itself to your body and just being outside with very little on and nothing to do, is wonderful in itself.
1. The sound of waves relieves stress by relaxing your mind and clearing your thoughts
It seems that it isn't just the part of being semi-naked in the sunshine that makes us feel good or the beautiful blue of the sea. The sound of waves also leave a deep impression on us. Much more than we think.
People have always felt a sort of magnetic attraction to the beach, often associated with holidays in exotic locations and time off.
Well, apparently we were right.
Listening to the waves lapping against the shore is primordial, and there are few sounds we hear in our daily life which still are. It would seem that the electrical waves our brains produce vibrate at the same frequency as the sea.
And so, you may ask?
Well, this calms us, helping us think, meditate and sleep.
2. The sun strengthens our bones, floods us with endorphins and protects us from depression
There are so many ways to enjoy being on the beach, from active and dare devil to entirely horizontal, but just being in the sun will revitalize and infuse you with happy summer vibes.
But what does sunlight actually do to you?
Firstly, the heat of the sun affects our endocrine system, which is where we get endorphins from. These are our body's natural happy drugs and we want them, lots of them, to feel good.
In addition, we get most of our Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, which we need for all kinds of things like helping our bones absorb Calcium.
There is on going research studying the hypothetical link between our Vitamin D levels and the onset of SAD (Seasonal affective disorder), which leads to depression, anxiety and general lack of wellbeing, and affects people mostly in the colder northern climes.
As yet it hasn’t been proven, but in case and just to be safe, going to a sunny beach for a few weeks will keep you covered and boost your Vitamin D levels (which are necessary anyhow), and strengthen your bones!
3. Sea water exfoliates and regenerates our skin, relieving pain and protecting our nervous system
The sea is full of minerals, and though our skin is not a sponge, we do assimilate some of these through our pores. Goodies found in sea water include sodium, chloride, sulphate, magnesium, calcium and iodine, minerals that improve our skin texture and tone, and act as an antiseptic, especially good for skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
Furthermore, dunking your body into cold seawater has the added effect of raising your white blood cell count, the icy cold water boosts your immune system, helping it fight off infections.
Aside from its healing properties, swimming in the sea is magical. If you have a snorkel more so, and if you happen to be somewhere in the north of Mallorca at the time, then the clear turquoise waters of the Mediterranean will make you feel like you are exactly where you are meant to be.
4. Walking on sand activates our blood circulation and helps us breathe better
Exercise comes into it of course, because walking on uneven ground makes our muscles and tendons work much harder than walking on flat solid ground; it requires more energy, burns more calories and acts as a natural cushion protecting your joints from impact. There are also all the benefits of listening to the sound of sea waves as you walk along the beach, that we mentioned earlier.
But breathing sea air is what really makes the difference; clean sea air is rich in ozone, which acts as nebulizer, clearing our air channels and lungs, and is great for fighting colds and coughs.
Sea air is also loaded with negative ions, molecules with extra electrons, found near mountains, beaches, and waterfalls and what gives the air in these places their natural freshness. They are thought to release tension and stress, and thanks to their small size, can be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream to produce their positive effects.
Negative ions enhance our mood, stimulating our senses, improving appetite and sexual drive, providing relief from hay fever, sinusitis, bronchial asthma, allergies, migraines, and even post operative pain and burns.
And here we come to the last benefit, something that walking along the beach does for you that you may have never thought of.
5. Relieves stress and changes our electrical charge, possibly making us feel healthier
This relates to us being in direct contact with the earth or sea.
The idea is that the earth has a slight negative charge while we (modern humans) have built up too much of a positive charge (and not in a good way!). The hypothesis is that this may be the very reason why we get ill so often.
We take for granted for example, that we need to ground electrical outlets to avoid too much positive charge. Why not apply the same thinking to our bodies? Could they also benefit from the same grounding effect?
It may seem silly. But it's sort of logical. Our feet are very rarely in direct contact with the earth, in fact city dwellers can quite easily remain unconnected from the earth for years.
But on the beach, barefoot, we finally are, and this does us good, electrically!