For centuries people have turned to the healing powers of the sea to treat everything from skin complaints and stomach trouble to stress and even tuberculosis. Today the natural medicinal capabilities of vitamin sea are proven to improve mental and physical health. For example, studies show that people living near the sea are 22% less likely to suffer from mental health problems.
So why does the ocean impact us so positively and what are the health benefits of the sea?
The Benefits of Swimming in the Sea
A whopping 7.5 million people (and growing) enjoy outdoor swimming thanks to its positive impact on the body and mind. Cold water swimming, or wild swimming, offers unique health benefits that you only get from swimming in nature’s cool waters.
1. Endorphin-releasing exercise
Sea swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise that raises your breathing and heart rate, flooding your body with fresh oxygen and keeping your heart and lungs healthy. And as with many forms of exercise, swimming releases endorphins. But brave swimmers particularly love the sea because the pain of cold water gives you a super endorphin hit, which can lift your mood and melt your stresses away.
2. Improved circulation and immune system
Sea swimming also gets your blood flowing. As your body adapts to the cold water, blood rushes through your veins, improving circulation. And it’s believed this cold shock can jump-start your immune system too, producing more white blood cells.
3. Detoxifying and healing
Saltwater is rich in magnesium, iodine, calcium and potassium which can help your body detoxify and heal. Thanks to the ocean’s natural healing properties, sea swimming can be an effective treatment for skin ailments like eczema or acne. A dip in the cool sea opens pores, helping your body absorb rich nutrients and expel toxins. It’s no wonder saltwater is used in expensive spa treatments!
Sea Swimming Safety Tips
If you are not used to cold water swimming then ease yourself in gently in the summer when the temperatures are warmer to prevent cold water shock. Regular dips will soon acclimatise your body and enable you to swim throughout the year. We also always suggest swimming with others as there is safety in numbers and rip currents can be unseen danger.
The Benefits of Living by the Sea
Swimming in the sea isn’t for everyone. But fear not, living by the sea, or even just spending time by the sea, offers some remarkable health benefits too.
According to mental health charity Mind, spending time in nature improves mood, self-confidence, social connections and physical health, while helping to reduce stress. And there’s no better way to connect with nature than feeling the soft sand between your toes while the salty sea breeze brushes your face.
1. Space for physical exercise
Living by the sea gives you a stunning blue space to explore to recharge your body and mind. In terms of physical activities, the vast expanse of the beach gives you endless possibilities to get moving and keep fit. Whether you choose a full beach workout session, a paddleboard adventure, a leisurely stroll or even a simple beach clean, there are lots of ways to exercise by the sea.
2. Natural light
Being outdoors means you’re drinking in an abundance of natural vitamin D that’ll help your body absorb key nutrients from your diet, keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. The natural light of the seaside can also help regulate your melatonin levels, which aids better sleep and boosts your energy.
3. Sea air
The fresh air of the seaside is cleaner and better for you than the smog of the city. Fresh air floods your body with oxygen which can help raise your serotonin levels and your mood. What’s more, some argue that sea breezes even blow away irritants like pollen, providing hayfever sufferers with welcome relief.
The crashing waves of the sea are also excellent producers of cleansing negatively charged ions. Some studies suggest that these negative ions in the air can have health benefits such as reducing stress, boosting the immune system and even improving sleep and mood.
Who can deny how good it feels to take time out and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the seaside. The awe-inducing sights together with the calming sounds and smells lift your spirits and make you feel relaxed. You’ll find the peaceful, rhythmic sound of rolling waves on most fancy relaxation apps, but there’s nothing better than the real thing. Sitting back and focussing on the crashing waves puts your mind into a meditative state where you concentrate on the present, forgetting about worries and problems, which lowers your heart rate and breathing. And a calm mind is more creative and more reflective, so the beach is the ideal place to clear your mind and build ideas.
Even the simple act of sea glass collecting can be a useful mindfulnesses technique by keeping your mind in the present and giving your brain a break. Not to mention the sweet feeling of accomplishment you get when you admire your treasure afterwards!
5. Social interactions
The seaside is the perfect landscape for relaxed get-togethers with like-minded people, from summer to winter, whatever your age. It’s free, there’s lots of space, you’ve got mother nature’s best backdrops, and there are heaps of things to do. So whether it’s the children making sandcastles with new friends, enjoying a sunday stroll with your lifelong partner or catching up with buddies at the weekly surf club meet, the seaside is overflowing with opportunities for laid back, memory-making moments.
The Joy of Marine Wildlife
Marvelling at marine wildlife is a wonderful way to unwind, relax and put things into perspective mentally. On shore, you can explore rock pools, and from the clifftops, you can spot seals and fishing sea birds. But always remember to respect the space of wildlife – keep your distance and try not to disturb.
And if you encounter marine life while out swimming, there are a few things you should bear in mind. Regarding sharks, the Basking Shark Trust Code suggests no more than 4 people go within 100 metres of a shark at one time, and they should stay within a group at the surface. They also warn not to swim towards basking sharks or touch them. Regarding other wildlife such as seals, you should always stay back, try to remain unseen and do all that you can to minimise disturbance, especially if there are vulnerable seals present like pregnant females and pups.
If you want to immerse yourself in the marine landscape and be wowed by it’s majestic wildlife from a safe distance, you could take a boat trip to see animals like dolphins and seals as they play happily within their natural habitat.
Breathtaking Boat Trips from Padstow Sealife Safaris
The healing powers of the sea offer remarkable health benefits both physically and mentally. During the stresses of the pandemic, many people have found a bit of relief by the sea – whether it’s a place to exercise, a breath of fresh air or wildlife spotting. But please always adhere to current government guidelines and enjoy the sea safely.
What better way to get that briny buzz than out on the open water. On a boat trip with Padstow Sealife Safaris, you get to experience the sea in all its glory, getting a unique view of the beautiful Cornish coastline while spotting seals, dolphins and even whales along the way. With a range of knowledgeable, skillfully skippered RIB tours available, there’s something for the whole family.
Find out more about our boat trips today and get ready to hop on board!