I don’t know about you but I almost shed a tear when I pulled out my iPhone this morning to check the weather and saw that the lowest for the whole week was 66 degrees. With New Jersey weather being the biggest tease I know, I initially had my doubts (I mean come on, we’ve gone from 70-degree weather to snow all within 36 hours) but guys, this is it– we can finally hang up our winter jackets for good! And warm weather for me, personally, only makes me think of one thing… the beach!
Local New Jersey residents, we are all familiar with the Jersey Shore. Whether you go once a summer or once a week, there’s something about the beach that makes you want to never leave–unless you are badly burnt or a seagull steals your glasses–but regardless, going to the beach actually has a few health benefits that you might not have even considered. So while it’s usually fun in the sun or working on your tan, spending time in the sand and water can actually be very beneficial to your health. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology by author J. Aaron Hipp, Ph.D., an environmental health expert, data actually proves that, “natural environments like beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues, and the built urban environment.”
Let’s look at the sun first. Of course, the sun’s rays can be damaging especially for those prone to burning or those who come without sunscreen, but when your skin is directly exposed to the sun, your body produces Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential in calcium absorption and strengthening bones. According to the Mayo Clinic, even just 10 minutes of daily sun exposure can help one attain his/her daily dose of Vitamin D.
Next, walking on the sand can also be very beneficial to your health. As the soles of your feet have more nerve-endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body, walking barefoot on the sand will stimulate those nerves endings. When you walk on the sand, you are also strengthening the muscles in your feet. Additionally, for you runners, researchers found that walking on sand requires 1.6 to 2.5 times the energy than it takes on a hard surface, so try running on the sand to heighten your workout.
The last benefit I want to talk about is the water. Sea water contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iodine, and these minerals are important for the body to have. Besides what the water contains, what you do in the water is extremely beneficial– swimming! Swimming provides great physical exercise that employs most of the body’s major muscle groups and the water provides a good resistance as well. If you need more convincing, just look at this following image!
While the beach is great for lazy days, for catching up on some light reading, or for simply just working on that tan, maximizing all the beach has to offer (the sun, the sand, and the sea) can help you improve your overall health.