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Why We Should Spend More Time Near Water

From the 16th century on, English doctors endorsed the healing power of water for everything from a bad mood to heatstroke. Some of their methods, like a seaside vacation, were effective. Others, like repeatedly dunking ladies into the cold sea — not so much. However, generally, they had the right idea: there is a link between close proximity to a body of water and better mental and overall health.

Apart from the beautiful scenery, being near water has many benefits. Bright Side gathered some of them and we’re ready to share them with you.

1. Seawater helps with skin issues.

Seawater is loaded with skin-healing minerals: magnesium, sodium, calcium, and sulfates. They effectively fight various skin conditions, like dermatitis, psoriasis, and whatnot. Salt is a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells, and leaving your skin softer than ever. It’s no wonder that seawater is home to many sources of anti-aging products.

2. Swimming lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

When we swim, our blood is redirected from our limbs and peripheral organs and brought closer to our heart due to a horizontal position. This effect improves our overall blood circulation in the long run. It also slows down our heart rate and reduces our blood pressure. In fact, in the water, our heart rate is reduced by 5-6 beats per minute compared to a land workout like running.

3. The sound of water helps us sleep better.

We sleep more soundly around water because of 2 things: the waves and the air. Our brain interprets the lapping of waves as an unthreatening sound, calming us into a very relaxed state, in contrast to loud sharp sounds like sirens or screams. It can also boost the production of serotonin and dopamine, our feel-good hormones.

The air, on the other hand, is charged with negative ions, that help your body absorb oxygen and regulate sleep patterns.

4. Water and sea air strengthens the immune system.

Not only is open water swimming a superb way to increase your strength and endurance, but it can also boost your immune system. The sea air toughens your natural defenses and the iodine in the ocean spray helps regulate the thyroid gland responsible for metabolism, body development, and growth.

5. The sea alleviates stress.

The stress-relieving power of the sea is legendary. The fresh air, the sound of waves, the mere sight of water — or a combination of all 3 — causes our stress levels to go down. In some cases, open water swimming can lead to an immediate improvement in mood and even assist with serious mental health problems, like depression.

6. Swimming creates a workout opportunity for everyone.

Spending time in “blue environments” by definition promotes physical activity, decreasing the risks of diabetes and other conditions associated with obesity. They are also very approachable. The elderly, pregnant women, people with arthritis, and those recovering from an injury can all benefit from it. Water reduces the stress on joints, bones, and muscles, so you’re unlikely to hurt yourself.

Regardless of your style, swimming keeps every muscle in your body busy, from your forearms to your feet. And unlike land-based exercises, you don’t need to add weights, since the resistance of the water is always pushing against your body, helping you build muscle strength.

7. It relieves sore muscles and joints.

Salty seawater effectively relieves aches and pains, thanks to the magnesium, which helps our body to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions. Dead Sea water even proved itself useful against arthritis. Swimming in the ocean also reduces pain and stiffness with arthritis, since the water cuts the pressure of gravity that constricts the joint and provides 360-degree support for sore limbs.

How do you feel near bodies of water?

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