Summer is the time when everyone heads for the beach but what does science say about this annual trek? It turns out there is a reason you yearn for sand and surf each year.
What Is It about the Beach?
The benefits of the beach are not clearly understood but they appear to be sense-oriented. In other words, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand under your toes work together to create a sense of calm and well-being.
A 2013 study published in Health & Place found that people living near the coast tend to be healthier both physically and mentally. If you think about it, it makes sense because the ebb and flow of the ocean waves recreate an effect that many associated with in relation to - a rocking motion.
The Beach and the Brain
This combination of positive stimuli may give the brain a chance to relax and recharge. The things that can have a detrimental effect on brain health like stress disappear for a time and inner peace takes their place.
Studies also indicate that looking at the ocean changes brain wave frequenciescreating a sense of mild meditation. Meditation is proven to have health benefits that might include improved brain plasticity and cognitive function.
The Colors of the Beach
Look at that picture you took of you and the family on your beach holiday and what stands out? The blue of the water. Blue is a color known for its calming effect on the brain, so it’s not just the rhythm of the water that helps you relax. Visually soaking in some of that blue is another beach perk.
The Sun’s Affect on the Brain
Add sunshine to the list of positive beach experiences. The sun is one of your primary sources of vitamin D, which may also boost brain functioning. That doesn’t mean you go to the beach without sunscreen, though. Your skin will soak up vitamin D even when you protect it against damaging radiation.
The Beach is a Workout
Just walking across the sun to find the perfect spot to lie down takes effort. It works muscles that you will probably feel the next day. Add that to swimming, scooping sand for sandcastles, and playing with the kids and the beach turns into quite a workout. Exercise is good for the brain, too.
What Else Can You Do to Support Your Brain Health?
Lifestyle changes are essential tokeep your brain young. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also, keep your blood sugar in check. Diabetes is a major risk factorfor dementia.
Along with getting plenty of exercise, rework your diet so you are eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and fatty seafood like salmon. Increase your level of plant protein, as well, and cut back on red meat.