We are all fond of taking off to the beach to spend some quality time in the sun and sand, now scientists have declared that it’s actually good for your health.
Studies from the United States and Britain have found beach-dwelling promotes improved happiness, general well-being and even brain function. 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.
According to Medical Daily sea water contains minerals including magnesium, potassium and iodine that could help the body fight infection. Breathing in the sea air has respiratory benefits that could result in a better night’s sleep, it said.
Clinical psychologist Richard Shuster said 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.
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. Even the physical sensation of sand between your toes is good for your well-being.
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.
Analysis of English census data revealed a positive association between self-reported health and living near the coast.
In the current study English panel data was used to explore the relationship between the proximity to the coast and indicators of generic and mental health for the same individuals over time. This allowed the control for both time-invariant factors such as personality and compare the strength of any relationship to that of other relationships (e.g. employment vs. unemployment). In support of cross-sectional analysis, individuals reported significantly better general health and mental health when living nearer the coast, controlling for both individual (e.g. employment status) and area (e.g. green space) level factors.