Is Your Body Crying Out For The Beach?
Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Beach bodies. Beach lifestyle. Beach houses.
Mankind has a fascination with the beach that isn't going anywhere. People pay millions to live on the beach and millions of us flock there each year for our annual holiday. But could the beach actually be good for our health? I grew up in an island culture where a having a " beach bath" was the panacea for all ills. This week let's delve into the science behind a day at the seaside.
1. Bone Building: Vitamin D is one of the key regulators of calcium, phosphate and magnesium levels, which are all needed for bone remodelling. Very few food groups contain sufficient vitamin D for bone health and the major source of natural Vitamin D is from a chemical reaction that occurs in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Research has shown that as little as 10 minutes in the sun is enough to get our daily dose of Vitamin D
2. Get a Beach Body: Beach sports are well-known for their ability to burn fat and tone muscles. With so much variety to choose from everyone should find their niche.
Surfing is a prime example of an all body work out. Swimming out to catch a wave improves cardiorespiratory function while toning back and arm muscles. Staying balanced on the board works out the legs, glutes and abdominals simultaneously.
The constant jumping in beach volley ball is excellent for the calf muscles and the abdominals. The serving works wonders for the back.
Kayaking is excellent for the core as well as the arms and back. The list just goes on and on, think water-skying, racket sports and sailing.
3. Give your joints a rest: The low gravity environment of the sea reduces the strain of exercise on joints. In fact the "weight" of the body is reduced by almost 90% while in water. Swimming itself is perfect for people with joint ache or arthritis, is excellent cardiovascular exercise, reduces blood pressure, regulates breathing and increases lung function. Scientists estimate that every hour of steady swimming can burn up to 500 calories. Not to mention, soaking in the salt rich water can reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints and increased blood flow around the body accelerates healing and recovery from injury.
4. Smooth Skin and Buffed Nails: Every time I go to the beach I make it a priority to give myself a good scrub with the sand. Ever noticed how smooth your feet and nails look after a beach holiday? Sand is a great natural exfoliant.
But that's not all. The salt in the water draws out impurities and toxins from our pores, reduces sebum production and can kill the bacteria responsible for acne. The exfoliation effect of the sand reduces the amount of dead skin on the face an increases cell turnover, giving beach goers a healthy glow.
6. Beach Hair: The minerals in seawater also regulate sebum production on the scalp and can have an antibiotic effect there. Seawater can improve eczema and psoriasis making it lovely for those with an itchy or oily scalp.
Interestingly the minerals in seawater can also add volume and texture to hair, making curls or other hairstyles "set". In fact, some hairstylists will recommend spraying hair with saltwater to keep a style for longer.
However the beach doesn't do wonders for every type of hair. If your hair is naturally dry, make sure to rinse the salt water out after every dip in the ocean. Saltwater and sunlight can also bleach hair so that dyed hair loses its shine quickly. To protect brittle hair, apply sunscreen to the scalp, shampoo and deep condition after a day at the beach.
7. Have A Rest: Even if you don't set out to exercise on the beach, walking on the sand and battling with the waves are workouts in themselves. Exposure to sunlight helps to regulate our hormones, in particular melatonin which encourages sleep. Days at the beach are known to reduce stress levels and improve depression by releasing another hormone, seretonin. It is no wonder that light therapy is prescribed to treat winter depression and the sound of waves crashing is used to treat insomnia.
So as you board your plane for those precious days at the seaside, remember to make the most of it....your body will thank you after.