- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 15 April 2015
Most people who don’t live by the ocean don’t get to experience its beauty and the beneficial health effects it can have on a person’s life, especially for us college students where stress is most people’s number one problem. With a long and very cold winter, exceptional beach weather is what people have been waiting for.
On days like this past Saturday, where the high was 63 degrees, the sun was shining and beaming down warmth which invited everyone to the great outdoors. As much as the beautiful scenery and sound of the waves crashing down are all the reason to take a trip to the beach, there are more health benefits than fellow beach-goers may realize.
A significant benefit of having a beach in your vicinity is that it serves as a stress reliever. The Daily Mail reports that negative ions found in the ocean balance levels of serotonin, a chemical in the body that is related to mood and stress levels.
The sea calms people’s nerves and relaxes the muscles in the body. Living close to the beach improves people’s well being, which helps to promote an overall better state-of-mind on campus due to our proximity to the beach.
Consider how good that feeling is: the warm sand sliding through your toes and engulfing your feet. It turns out were getting way more than just a rush of happiness. With over 200,000 nerve endings located on just the soles of our feet, walking barefoot in the sand stimulates them all. Walking on wet sand also exfoliates the dead skin cells from the heels of our feet.
If it’s hot enough to go into the water, you’re doing a lot more for yourself than cooling off. According to The Daily Mail, there are several minerals found in the ocean that help the body heal and detoxify. Iodine is a key proponent in fighting infection and magnesium helps you sleep better, gets rid of stress, and improves brain function. The best part about those two minerals is that there are plenty of them in the sea. All these benefits and all you’re required to do is take a nice journey to the beach.
The beach also serves as a place to exercise. Dr. Christopher Hirschler, an assistant professor of health and physical education, said, “Monmouth students are fortunate that they can bike, walk, or jog one mile and they’re at the beach.”
Hirschler also recommended physical activities such as volleyball, surfing, swimming, yoga, Pilates, or running as a nice recipe for physical and mental health. He also said that students could even bike 11 miles along the coast to Sandy Hook and stop at many beaches along the way.
“Taking part in the Long Branch beach volleyball league or the summer E offering of Volleyball - PE 127, which meets on the beach, would be a memorable way to spend some of the summer,” Hirschler continued.
Rachel Fox, a senior English and P-3 education student, said, “Running has always been a de-stresser for me. Yet, running by the beach, especially when the weather is warm, helps me decompress even more. Looking out at the ocean provides me with a sense of calmness.”
With the end of the semester quickly approaching, the work starts to pile on, the library and study rooms quickly become filled, and the stress starts to take over. It’s easy to lose focus and need a break from anything school-related, and that’s where going to school a mile away from the beach comes in handy. A five minute drive down the street or a slight 20 minute jog and you can escape all the problems that come with being a student.
Rebecca Huerta, a freshman, said, “When I go to the beach and close my eyes, the sound of the waves crashing, the smell of the sea, and the peaceful atmosphere makes me relaxed and renewed, an almost euphoric feeling that makes everything better.”
According to LiveScience.com, there are experiments being done that test the physiological benefits of living near the sea. One of those experiments involves giving people in stressful situations, like dental surgery, a virtual scene to look at during the procedure.
The people looking at the virtual reality reported feeling less pain than those having to look at the dental room. Studies like this show that the beach could be a very useful tool as a form of therapy.
So, if you’re feeling a little down, stressed, or just need a break from life, take a trip to the beach and you’ll be assured to gain more than just a smile.
Not very many college students get the opportunity to go to school as close to a part of nature that is as beneficial and cool as the beach, so don’t take it for granted.
Connor Perzely, a sophomore fine arts major with a focus in graphic design and the Vice President of the Surf Club, loves the beach and doesn’t waste his time being a mile from it.
Perzely said, “Nothing beats scanning across the ocean and observing mother nature’s little intricacies,” and that “the beach is a great place to find happiness that can guide one through a tough winter: that’s why Monmouth has kept me sane throughout my college career and overall healthy as well.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Rachel Fox