Summer is in full swing! Do your plans include heading to the beach? Spending time at the beach is good for you for so many reasons! Is it the sand, the ocean, the sun? Actually, it’s a combination of all three.
The clean air contains negative ions which have a positive effect on our overall well-being. These negative ions are in abundance after a storm, in the ocean surf, near waterfalls, and at the beach. They can neutralize free radicals, revitalize cell metabolism, boost immunity, purify the blood, and promote health digestion, and deep sleep (read about this phenomena in more detail here).
Natural Sound Bath
Just listening to the ocean waves can have a calming effect. That gentle noise we hear actually can help you to relax and destress. Of course swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and just being in the salt water adds to the relaxation state. This is one reason float tanks are growing in popularity.
The sun provides the following healing properties, according to Mind Body Green – Healing Benefits of the Sun:
- Can help with depression
- Build the immune system
- Kill bad bacteria
- Lower cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Can send breast cancer into remission combined with a whole foods diet
- Increase growth in children
The sun also helps our bodies to produce vitamin D, which protects us from disease, helps to prevent osteoporosis, and can even help us to lose weight, according to one study.
Vitamin D can be absorbed through food, supplements, and sunlight. Sunscreen and windows actually block our bodies from from UVB rays (which actually produce vitamin D) but expose us to the UVA rays (which promote photo aging and skin cancer). So you actually want to be in the sun with your bare skin exposed to receive the UVB rays which make vitamin D. Depending on where you live, vitamin D is not accessible year round. I’m not advising you to forego sunscreen altogether, but consider getting some direct sunlight on your skin. If you’re fair skinned like I am, you’ll want to gradually increase your time in the sun and always be careful not to burn! Dr. Mercola has a great article on how to expose yourself safely to the sun.
Obviously you will need to use sunscreen at some point, so it’s critical to know what to look for and what to avoid when purchasing sunscreen. The safest sunscreens are mineral-based such as zinc oxide. One of the worst ingredients is oxybenzone which is not only an endocrine disrupter but poses hazards to the environment. Want to know how your sunscreen ranks? Check out the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen report to check yours and learn more about sunscreen safety.
If you’re changing time zones, one of the best things you can do to help reset your circadian rhythm is to walk around barefoot when you arrive at your destination. What better place to do this than at the beach?! It’s so important to get outside when the weather is nice. The average person spends 90% of their time indoors!
Sticking your toes in the sand is the perfect way to ground yourself. In case you aren’t aware, grounding or earthing is the process of touching the earth with your skin. Walking barefoot on the grass, the sand, dirt, and even concrete recharges your body with the earth’s energy. Your skin acts a conductor through your feet to receive the magnetic force from the earth.
Deepak Chopra has a great article on earthing where he explains the health benefits of earthing including decreased levels of inflammation and pain, reduced stress, and improved circulation. He also offers some great solutions for incorporating earthing and grounding into your life when you can’t be outside.
And, guess what? Grounding is great for jet lag! Being outside in the bright sunlight and connecting to the earth helps to reset your internal clock.
I hope this offers a little more information about why we feel so great when we spend time at the beach. I always thought it was just being able to get away from everything in our daily life, but it turns out there’s an array of health benefits as well! So take advantage of the warm weather this summer and head to the beach… or if you’re landlocked, just walk around barefoot in the grass!
Here’s a great way to stay hydrated while you’re at the beach:
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negative-ions-positive effect on the body
Mind Body Green – Healing Benefits of the Sun
calcium and vitamin D study
Grounding the Human Body