Recent studies have shown
that living near the ocean is great for your health, but did you know that just swimming in the ocean may add years to your life?
Several studies have shown that a dip in the sea has many health benefits. These include boosting the immune system, relief from skin problems, allergies, and relief from aches and pains. Some of the studies even suggest that sea swimming may help boost sex drive!
Additionally, swimming along non-tropical coast lines provides even more benefits. Research has revealed that colder water can actually activate the immune system giving it a ‘workout’.
“People say they feel great after a sea or river swim, which may be because the chilly water activates cold sensors all over our bodies — cells positioned just 0.18 millimetres under our skin — which in turn increase heart rate and give us that “alive” feeling,’ explains Michael Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at Portsmouth University to the Daily Mail.
“The cold sensors also trigger a sudden burst of adrenaline that diverts our attention away from our aches and pains, creating the feel-good factor. It’s effectively a natural painkiller.”
A Workout for Your Immune System
Repeated exposure to colder water may also help improve the way our bodies deal with physiological stresses.
Professor Tipton and his colleagues conducted a study in 2010 which found that when the human body experiences stress, such as getting into a cold body of water, heart and breathing rates increase. When the body experiences this form of physical stress repeatedly, such as in ocean swimming, it helps the body deal with other kinds of stress better in everyday life.
A previous Czech study found that people who swam in colder water three time a week had significant increases in their white blood cell counts…white blood cells are important immune system components that help fight off infection. Because of these findings, researchers determined that colder water acts as a workout for the immune system, helping to naturally strengthen our infection fighting capabilities.
A Boost for Sex Drive
Cold water swimming can also help increase both testosterone as well as estrogen in men and women respectively. Low testosterone or estrogen levels can have a negative effect on sex drive.
Relief of Skin Conditions
Salty sea water is also beneficial for some skin conditions such as psoriasis. The salt and other elements in sea water, such as potassium chloride can help speed up the skin’s healing process. A study in the International Journal of Dermatology also found that the magnesium in sea water helps skin retain moisture.
Ocean water can also help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as runny and itchy noses. Sea water acts like a saline rinse, washing irritating pollen out of nasal passages. In fact, people who live near the ocean and regularly swim in it, tend to have healthier respiratory systems.
Of course, we don’t need studies to prove that swimming in the ocean is beneficial…just ask anyone who lives along the coastline. However, if you’ve got a land lover in your family, encourage them to take the plunge! It just may add years to their life.