14 Reasons for a Beach Vacation
Take the plunge for all these health benefits:
Illustration Credit: Cancer Rising, Aquarius Moon by Ekua Holmes
1. Feel Refreshed—Beach mist is filled with an abundance of anions (negative ions), which boost the immune system, facilitate oxygen absorption in the lungs, and relieve stress and depression by regulating serotonin levels in the brain. These anions also act as antioxidants, cancelling out free radicals and thus increasing longevity and preserving youthful looks.
2. Breathe Easier—Because gusts bring beach air to shore from the ocean, it tends to be clean and pollen-free. Sea air is also a natural nasal saline spray, clearing your respiratory passageways of allergens and pollutants. In fact, experts find that those who live by the beach and regularly swim in seawater tend to have healthier respiratory systems. If you have allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis, swimming at the beach will naturally help flush out phlegm.
3. Exfoliate—Your first step onto the beach begins to naturally exfoliate your feet. Now lie down and get a free, full-body exfoliation by gently scrubbing beach sand all over.
4. Repair Skin Damage—Swimming in seawater opens your pores while sea salts (potassium chloride and sodium chloride) naturally seal any damaged skin. Regular swimming at the beach has been shown to relieve eczema, psoriasis, and rashes, as well as to shrink pimples and facilitate the healing of cuts and scrapes.
5. Ease Pain—A plunge into cool water activates cold sensors positioned about 0.2 mm beneath your skin, which then trigger adrenaline and endorphin surges, thereby instantly dulling pain and invigorating you. Long term, bathing in seawater has anti-inflammatory effects that ease arthritis as well as your other aches and pains.
6. Moisturize—One study found that dry-skin sufferers experienced significant hydration after a 15-minute soak in seawater, but no benefit from a similar soak in tap water. (Note: One big difference is salt water’s magnesium, which helps boost the glow of moist skin.)
7. Replenish Minerals—Seawater’s chemical makeup is similar to blood plasma. (After all, all life originated in the ocean!) Simply wading in seawater helps replenishes your blood with magnesium, iodine, potassium, sodium, calcium, and other minerals and amino acids, which enter through your pores.
8. Beat Stress—Magnesium has also been shown to relieve anxiousness and irritability and to induce calmness. Beach swimming not only replenishes magnesium, it also preserves your melatonin (involved in sleep regulation) and tryptamine. In bringing all these neurotransmitters up to healthy levels, swimming in seawater relieves stress, relaxes muscles, and helps cure insomnia.
9. Build Resilience—The more frequently you expose yourself to cool seawater, the less your heart and breathing rates will increase during physiological stress, ultimately making your body more resilient.
10. Improve Cardio—When you enter cool water, your body quickly moves your blood from your extremities to concentrate it around your inner organs. Then, after your body heats up from swimming, your body moves your blood back around your extremities to prevent overheating. This super-cardio training will help keep you warm all winter.
11. Detox—When your blood rushes from your extremities to your organs and back again, the cycle flushes out toxins through your pores.
12. Boost Immunity—Studies show that, first, beach swimming increases white blood cell count over time. The theory is that the cold seawater acts as a mild stressor, like a workout for your immune system. Second, like breathing in beach mist, iodine enters your skin’s pores from seawater while swimming, further strengthening your immune system via enhanced thyroid regulation.
13. Lose Weight—Cool-water workouts can burn twice the calories of warmer pool swims, because you burn energy to keep warm.
14. Feel Sexier—Routinely exposing yourself to cold seawater increases testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women. Your libido will increase, your fertility will improve, and you’ll feel better all over.