Article by Carol Caprio
Is there any place more peaceful and beautiful as the beach? It is always the one place where we can unplug and enjoy all of nature – from the stunning sunrises and sunsets and the sound of the waves rolling onto the shore in their hypnotic momentum. It’s intoxicating. If you are fortunate enough to live on the beach, then you have your own slice of daily heaven. But city dwellers and country folk need not fret, making small visits or day trips to the ocean can make a significant difference in so many ways.
YOUR DOSE OF D
Yes, you can keep drinking that glass of milk, but 80-90% of your vitamin D is from your daily dose of sunshine! According to studies provided by Harvard Medical School, the most natural and substantial source of vitamin D depends on how much UVB light gets through to you. That light reacts with a cholesterol-related compound and metabolizes into Vitamin D, which is essential for bone health, healthy skin and even helps improve mental health. But let me reiterate, “responsible sun exposure” is what doctors advocate. What is “responsible” you ask? Since sunscreens block the vital UVB rays needed for vitamin D production within the body, you only need about 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure. Anything beyond that, you will need sunblock with 30 SPF or higher to protect the long-term health of your skin.
SUNSHINE IS A MOOD-CHANGER
Sunny days make us happier, whether during the summer or winter months. But add warmer weather to the mix and we are doing the happy dance all the way to the beach. Sunlight has been scientifically proven to decrease depression. When the exposure of sunlight increases, so do our serotonin levels (the “feel good” chemical in our brain). Sunlight has a positive effect on our stress levels, sleep and appetite. Thank you Mr. Sun!
There are approximately 3,000 – 7,000 nerve endings in each foot. When your feet hit these fine granules of sand, your nerves are awakened and it feels simply amazing. The best part about beach sand is that it acts as a natural skin exfoliant by gently rubbing off dead skin from your feet leaving them silky smooth by day’s end. Take a handful of wet sand and rub it in a circular motion anywhere on your body and your skin becomes baby soft.
SEA WATER MAY KEEP YOU YOUNGER-LOOKING
Some will do anything to fight aging and stay young. But here is a less invasive option. Take a refreshing dip in the sea! As we age, our skin loses its elasticity and suppleness. The ocean is chock full of minerals that can help prevent loss of skin elasticity. Make a weekly habit of treating your body to a little salt water. It’s like nature’s spa for all to indulge in. The best part is that it’s free!
YOUR NEW FITNESS PARTNER
You know what the routine is. You park your car, your lifting coolers and chairs and umbrellas to that perfect spot on the sand. Your legs are working hard to balance it all while your feet sink into the sand testing your endurance. You finally get settled and then the fun begins. Simply going to the beach involves a variety of physical activities. Swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, jogging or simply walking through the sand. Walking along the beach is a better workout than walking on concrete. Walking on the sand requires 1.6 – 2.5 times more mechanical work than does walking on a hard surface at the same speed. A relaxing swim will burn approximately 200 calories. Frisbee and surfing? About 100. Beach volleyball will burn about 300 calories! So, swap your summer gym membership in for your NEW gym….with a much prettier view!
UNPLUG & RECHARGE
There is no place better to recharge and re-center than the beach. Unplug your smartphone, toss your tablet and get technology-free for a bit. Staying constantly “connected” is associated with loss of sleep, stress and depression. A short walk on the beach is known to reduce stress and help you reset. Studies have found that simply living seaside can be beneficial to your health and well-being.
The beach is a place with magical sunrises and sunsets to visually inspire you. But it is also one of the best places to re-center, helping you to stay fit mentally, physically and spiritually. It has everything your body needs, all in one spectacular place.