Do the warm months and ahead and social distancing have you itching to get away and visit the ocean? You likely don’t need convincing to pack up your beach towel and umbrella, but what if we told you that being by the ocean has a positive impact on your mind and body? Would that make you want to go even more? Well, it does! So, today, as a way to celebrate World Oceans Day, we’re sharing three health benefits of being by the ocean:
- The ocean positively impacts your senses
Think about that glorious feeling when you sit in your beach chair, dig your feet into the sand (hey, you’re grounding!), and gaze at the ocean in front of you. It’s pure bliss! You feel the soft sand, smell the salt water, hear the seagulls, happy shouts of children, and steady crashing of waves, and your eyes take in the sight of endless blue water. As blissful as that is, it’s no wonder that Hawaii is consistently ranked as the happiest state in America!
Did you know that the color blue is linked with feelings of calmness and serenity? It relaxes the body and mind and can even lower blood pressure and your heart rate. Let’s be honest, we’ve all experienced some heightened stress and/or anxiety during these unprecedented times. Why not combat that tension with a walk along the shore?
- Sunlight gives your body a natural boost
Ultraviolet-B light is the best way for your body to get vitamin D, which is crucial for your immune system and the development of your bones and teeth. It also helps fight depression and several chronic diseases. You can safely intake UVB rays by exposing at least ⅓ of your body to the sun for 10-30 minutes at a time. Be sure to pay attention to your skin and put on sunscreen or protective clothing when enjoying a natural dose of vitamin D!
Sunshine also triggers our body to produce serotonin, which helps regulate our mood. It’s linked to feelings of satisfaction and calmness, whereas a shortage of serotonin causes depression and anxiety.
- It gives your brain a break
Wallace J. Nichols, author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, points out that being near (or in!) water takes our brain out of “work” or “family” or “all the things” mode and into “default mode network.”
Imagine what is running through your brain on an average weekday. You’re likely thinking about work deadlines, household duties, family relationships, upcoming social engagements, the list goes on. Now imagine what runs through your brain when you’re in the shower. You might be singing along to music, recalling a dream from the night before, or coming up with a new idea to share with your boss. The same sensation of a more calm and creative brain flow is experienced when you’re kicked back by the ocean. Just think of all the creativity waiting to come out of you!
With these amazing benefits of the ocean, we know you’re itching, even more, to get to the water! If you’re concerned about how a trip to the beach might be affected by COVID-19, you’re not alone. Families all over the world are having to rethink their travel plans, whether that means canceling completely, finding a new destination, or moving forward with changed expectations. While many beaches are now open in Maryland and along the Eastern coastline, remember that visitors are asked to practice social distancing. So, be safe, and enjoy your visit to the ocean!