Southend resident, Jackie Shaw shares her thoughts...
Having just returned from an idyllic week on the shores of Majorca I can confirm that sun, sea, sand and Sangria are most definitely good for your health and wellbeing (ok, maybe not quite as much Sangria as I managed to consume but that's another story!)
However, once again researchers have found that it's not just the tropical or Mediterranean coastlines and pure white sandy beaches that can be beneficial. Our own shores, despite their bracing winds and occasional sub zero temperatures, can still have extremely positive effects on our health.
For instance, did you know that the thyroid gland, responsible for your level of metabolism and growth, needs iodine to function properly? Iodine is found in sea water, seaweed and kelp and is released into the air in the spray from crashing waves.
So as you take your daily walk on the beach with the dog, the benefits of iodine are entering your respiratory system. Salt air from the sea also clears nasal canals, easing asthma and other breathing problems.
The beach is an ideal location for healthy exercise in various forms. The simplest is of course a walk in the sand. Walking barefoot trains the legs and massages the soles of the feet. Aerobic exercise on the beach is much healthier than in the gym as the sand provides a cushioned surface alleviating problems to joints and muscles.
Swimming in the ocean is brilliant exercise for people of all ages. It trains the arm, chest and leg muscles better than a swim in the pool, because you have to fight the current and the waves.
Ball games, jogging, cycling or even horse riding along the coastline don't just give you the benefits of the sea air, but again studies have shown that being beside the coast was significantly more likely to create a feeling of well-being.
Researchers have struggled to pinpoint exactly why this is, with theories ranging from an "innate preference" for the sights and sounds of water to the simple associations with happy childhood memories.
Clearly the Victorians knew what they were doing when they sent their convalescents to the coast to recuperate, and there is obviously a good reason why our coastal towns and villages are so popular with those entering retirement.
With seven miles of beachfront here in Southend on Sea we are in an enviable position, and quite possibly are often guilty of taking it for granted. With access to several sailing clubs, water sports or just family walks along the coast, you can find detailed guides to all our local beaches via Southend Council, and a list of local clubs and associations through thebestof Southend Community Hub.
Member since: 10th July 2012
I am the very proud owner of thebestofsouthend. My aim is to really shout about why Southend is so great & champion our local business owners who do a really great job!
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