Health Benefits of Walking on the Beach
As the temperatures rise and daylight stretches into the evening, it’s easy for thoughts to drift away to escaping to the beach. Whether you see the beach as a big playground or a place for rest and serenity, it can also be an opportunity to improve your health. In fact, some physicians are now issuing prescriptions for time spent in nature as treatment for stress and anxiety!
Calm Your Mind
Just being near the ocean can make you healthier. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore has a natural calming effect for your brain, releasing dopamine and serotonin, sometimes called the “hug hormones.” There is a reason why sound machines used for improving sleep have a setting for waves!
Emerging science is showing a correlation between walking barefoot and increasing the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Walking on sand can be a whole new level of strength and balance training, as well, because you’re using more of the muscles in your calves and feet, giving them a better workout than walking on a hard surface.
Burn More Calories
It may feel like a leisurely stroll, but walking on the beach burns more calories than on solid ground. Pick up the pace for a great workout that incorporates the calming effects and fresh air of the ocean! For an intensity boost, wade in the water!
Before you shutdown your computer and book a ticket to the coast, pace yourself. Too much sand walking too soon can lead to injuries. Increase intensity and distance gradually, and be sure to stretch before and afterwards.
Opportunities for healthy living are everywhere, even on vacation! As you head to the coast this summer, your next workout can literally be a walk on the beach.
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– HEATHER FUSELIER, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather