As the warm weather draws in, more and more of us will be spending time soaking in the sunny rays at the beach. But while we’ll all be enjoying taking in some more Vitamin D, how many of us are aware of the benefits from taking a dip in ‘vitamin sea’?
The calming image of the sea is one that has been around for a while: The gush of the waves, and the clear, turquoise water. But how many of us brave the cold temperatures and swap the swimming pool for the sea?
Despite all the things that may put you off (second mention to the cold), sea swimming has surprising benefits – not only for your mental health, but your physical health also.
The health benefits of sea swimming
Reduces Anxiety and Improves Your Mood
It’s hard to imagine a more relaxing image than a glorious sunny day and beautiful, turquoise water, with an inflatable doughnut floating in the sea.
The sun on your face and sand between your toes is enough to lighten your mood and help your anxieties melt away, but sea swimming is also proven to activate endorphins.
Endorphins create a natural feeling in the brain – produced during certain activities – which allow us to feel happy, excited and full of beans!
When our endorphins are activated, our body releases dopamine, leaving us feeling truly relaxed and happy.
Both the increased endorphins and dopamine leave the human brain with a natural sense of wellness – fuelled by feel-good chemicals which help us to switch off and relax from our worldly anxieties.
While the cold water may put you off jumping into the sea, it’s one of the reasons sea swimming is so good for you.
The change in temperature caused by the cold water helps to increase circulation in the body by telling the heart to pump more blood around the body, allowing the heart, lungs and muscles to function efficiently.
With our body working at its absolute best with great circulation, we’re also less prone to disease and illness.
Boosts Immune System
Again, if the cold water is what puts you off, then think again. Sea swimming in cold water not only improves circulation but helps to strengthen your immune system.
The shock of the cold water on the body encourages your immune system to produce more white blood cells and antioxidants.
Studies show that swimmers who regularly endure cold water temperatures are much less likely to suffer from infections – and much less severely when they do.
An improved immune system from sea swimming is likely due to the release of stress hormones as the body shock reacts to the colder temperature.
The experience of stress on the body prepares the immune system to fight any infections, making it stronger and more resilient.
Let’s not forget… swimming of any kind is great exercise! Swimming is great cardiovascular exercise which keeps the heart strong and body healthy.
Not to mention the resistance of swimming against a current, the temperature of the water means your body has to work so much harder to stay warm and regain normal temperature.
The harder your body works to stay warm, the more body fat is converted into energy. Sea swimming really is great for body and mind!
Warning: When sea swimming always remember to assess the safety of the water and surroundings and the strength of your own abilities. Do your research, never swim alone, and make sure you have the right attire for the temperature of the water and time of year – a wetsuit or drysuit, for example.