It’s Spring and time to hit the beach. Did you know that a day at the beach is not just fun, but also has some great health benefits too? Island Water Sports give you five great health benefits of being a beach bum.

1. Sandy Feet

If you are anything like me, you love walking barefoot on the sand. Guess what? So does your body! Walking in sand stimulates somewhere between 3,000 and 7,000 nerve endings in the soles of each foot. And, because the ground beneath you is constantly shifting, you are using more muscles than normal to keep your balance. This causes your body to burn more calories than you would walking with sneakers on a solid surface. In fact, it takes double the energy to walk on sand making it great exercise and acupressure therapy all-in-one!

2. Sun-kissed Skin

Sand is also a natural exfoliant!  It works to rub away dead skin as you take that walk along the shore. When you get your entire body sandy this natural exfoliant also helps your pores breathe – clearing away blackheads and acne. Suffer from psoriasis? The sun’s UV rays also dry out the skin giving you some relief. Dermatitis? The salt and potassium chloride in seawater also helps heal dermatitis. Seawater also helps preserve the elasticity of the skin and contains magnesium which moisturizes your skin balancing out the drying effects of those UV rays.

3. The Sound of Waves

There’s a reason sound machines and meditation tapes all have ocean soundtracks. The sound of the ocean can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. The sound can actually alter your brain waves reducing stress and helping you relax. We are bombarded every day by noise and media stimuli, but the white noise of the ocean can actually help to unplug and give us some much-needed downtime from all the digital influences of the world.

4. Sunshine, Ocean Water & Salty Air

Calling in sick to work? A trip to the beach may be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, doctors have suggested a day at the beach for centuries. Sunlight gives you vitamin D which helps prevent autoimmune diseases and is essential for bone health? Most people get 80 to 90 percent of their daily dose of vitamin D from sun exposure.

Studies have shown swimming and water-based exercise help to decrease anxiety and depression. Seawater contains minerals that rid your body of toxins and boost your immune system. Ocean water can also help heal a cut faster and help rheumatoid arthritis. Have a runny nose? A jump in the saltwater may be just what you need. Ocean water also contains iodine which is great for your thyroid and also is said to be a great immune booster.

Breathe in some salt air. It is full of negative-ions. These ions also help boost your immune system and serotonin levels. The result….an altered mood and reduced stress level. Plus, it is also attributed to a good night’s sleep.

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Relax by the sea

5. Calming Blue Water

With all the added health benefits, there is no reason not to get outside and enjoy what all our beautiful beaches have to offer. Stare out into the sheer vastness of the ocean. It’s power and size can make you feel tiny. We are connected to water from the onset of life. We’re naturally drawn to aquatic hues. People often associate the color of the sea with qualities like calm, openness, depth and wisdom.

Many of us love to sit near the ocean and gaze out at the water. We can sit for long periods simply observing the gentle movements of the water or even picture the ocean in our mind for relations. Water induces a mildly meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness. It lowers our stress levels and give us relief from anxiety, pain and depression. It also improves our mental clarity and helps us sleep better. Many therapists use the mental picture of the ocean to help you realize that life is so much greater than the temporary problems we tend to focus on. Everything else tends to seem tiny in proportion. It’s helps us to put our worries and problems into perspective.

So what are you waiting for? Run your feet through the sand, bask in the sun, take a dip in the ocean, breath deeply, and relax.