Why is it good to visit the Beach?
By Gloria Jones
In Pattaya we may often complain about the state of our beaches here and the colour of our sea water, leading the more public spirited of us to get involved in beach cleaning and raise awareness to the problems.
J. Aaron Hipp, Ph.D.,environmental health expert and author of the Journal of Environmental Psychology says:
“Studies have shown that natural environments like beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues and the built urban environment,”.And for many of us who spend most weekday hours indoors, it doesn’t take much persuasion to peel off the layers and catch some sun
We of course all know the risks of too much sun exposure. But there are benefits to exposing our skin to the sun. For example it helps our bodies make Vitamin D a vital tool in helping with calcium absorption and building strong bones. Some comes from diet but a good portion also comes from the sun. As little as 10 minutes of sun exposure can provide us with our daily dose and your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a little under the time it takes for your skin to turn pink.
Sun exposure has also been shown to increase endorphins although you should be careful to limit your exposure to excessive sunlight to avoid skin cancer risks. So remember to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen.
Did you also know that the soles of your feet have more sweat glands and nerve endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body? So walking barefoot stimulates them much more than walking in shoes and also strengthens the muscles in your feet and legs as walking on sand requires 1.6 to 2.5 times the energy than it takes on a hard surface.
Of course running by the ocean opens up your lungs to receiving more of the salty air that has been found to be good for you. In medical tests it was found that being near the sea helped patients clear out their lungs, reduced their need for antibiotics and generally all patients had an easier time breathing. Additionally, those who suffer from asthma reported that they have fewer and easier to manage attacks. Sea air is simply wonderful for your lungs.
However If running on the unwieldy sand for too long sounds tiring, try alternating your walk or run on the more compact sand closer to the water, where the surface will be less challenging.
Spending time near the ocean can also be good for our mental state as scientists have discovered that humans have something they call a “blue mind.” This means that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. Therefore watching the ocean, listening to the ocean, or simply being by the ocean, gives the brain a rest from overstimulation and can in effect make you calmer and give your brain a much needed “break” also producing the release of the happiness chemicals–dopamine and serotonin.