Like many people, I’ve loved the seaside since childhood, recalls Mark Pearson. So I’m happier than a sandboy to discover that scientific studies have proved what I’ve always suspected was true—that the health benefits of a beachfront resort holiday are multitudinous.
Growing up in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, my mum and dad would pile us kids into our Renault 12 station-wagon and head 1,050 miles south to the golden sands of Umhlanga Sands beachfront resort, just outside Durban in South Africa. We’d make this exciting trek every year, come storm, drought and even war. But just what is it, that makes us beach-lovers go to any length to get our fix of Vitamin Seaside?
When the British Family Holiday Association did a mass study recently in the UK, it discovered that 49% of people surveyed said that ‘being on holiday with the family’ was their happiest memory. And with sand and sea getaways being the favourite holiday type over the past few decades, it’s safe to say most of those happy day memories included a beach or three.
Nothing beats having a resort right on the beach, with nothing to do, a good audiobook to listen to, sunshine, a sea to play in, and friends or family in a similar state of beachside sedation. No surprise then, that several different studies by people who wear long white coats for a living, show that a trip down to the coast helps us relax, reduces stress levels and makes us happier and more imaginative.
That first sight of sea, that unending blue or azure colour, psychologically conveys calm. The splash of the waves, briny ocean breeze and warming sun all combine to make it a serene, calming destination, especially if it’s a resort on a Blue Flag beach with fine white, pink or golden sands. Considering the psychological and physical affects of stress or anxiety, we’re all entitled to a bit of annual beachfront therapy.
Get Your Vitamins D & Sea Fix
Just 30-60 minutes outside on a sunny day can supply a human with their required dose of Vitamin D, which keeps bones strong, teeth healthy and beefs up the immune system. And where better to shed clothes and join in with other sun-conscious recliners, than a resort beside the sea. Most high-end resorts are well geared up for sun worshippers. Get your replenishment from a private beach, spaciousbalcony, or non-sand tanning platform, perfect for those who don’t appreciate those globetrotting little grains.
Every Breath You Take. . .
I recall the sheer delight of waking up in one of the resort’s spacious rooms, feeling disoriented for a few seconds and then breathing-in that unmistakable salt air. Studies show salty sea air is charged with healthy negative ions, which speed up our ability to absorb oxygen, balance serotonin levels and work as natural antidepressants. Fresh sea air also improves our blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart attack and heart disease, aids digestion of food and boosts the immune system. This is why we sleep better on beachfront resort holidays and return to our everyday lives feeling brighter, more relaxed and energised.
Every Step You Take. . .
As above, so below. Sometimes, we’d upgrade to a suite or deluxe room that had direct access to the beach, so no need for shoes. Bare feet on sand absorb the earth’s electrical energy, giving us that tingly ‘grounded’ feeling, plus sand is natural exfoliant, so it helps shed dead skin, as well as providing a stimulating massage for the thousands of nerve endings in our feet. Also, a jog in the sand improves lower body strength and works your calves way better than any treadmill.
Give Us a Wave
Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body. Plus, if your room or suite is right on the beach within earshot of the waves, your sleeps will be deeper, relaxing you even more.
Something in the Water
Sea water contains high levels of magnesium, iodine and potassium, all natural healers and detoxifiers. As reported in the Daily Mail, Oxford-based medical journal, Skin Research And Technology, discovered that seawater is good for cases of allergic skin rashes and went on to claim that bathing in seawater increases the elasticity of the skin, and improves its outer appearance.
Swimming, surfing or water sports that involves physical activity in the water, rejuvenate and exfoliate the skin and is linked to a decrease in anxiety and depression. Plus, it burns calories, sheds weight and builds muscle tone, swimming in particular, which is one of those rare exercises that works every muscle in the body. Calm bays are great to swim in, as the gentler waves are easier to cut though.
5-Star Feel-Good Factor
Other perks or hidden heath benefits of a beachfront resort holiday, includes 24-hour room service and the adaptability of top resorts to all types of healthy nutritional preferences, be it from the poolside diner or restaurants offering the finest cuisine. This option of healthy eating adds another layer of de-stressing to your stay because, even if you arrive late or just fancy a green smoothie at 4.30am or simply a refreshing drink, you know your meal or snack preference will be met.
Gyms and many types of swimming pool come as standard in higher-starred beachfront hotels and we all know the benefits just a tiny bit of exercise can bring. Resorts with a wellness centre offering healing spa treatments and deeply relaxing massages are also more likely to be found in the more premium resorts. Then there’s the laundry service, which includes making the bed, changing sheets, providing fresh towels and even tidying up your room and taking out the rubbish, freeing up that most priceless commodity of all – your time. To sum up, holidays boost our happiness levels. Happiness reduces blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, combats stress, reduces aches and pains, fights disease, disability and lengthens our lives. A happier you, quite simply, is a healthier you.
And nothing lets you access all that happiness and wellness better than a vacation at a top beachfront resort on a secludedcoast. So if you’re looking for holiday inspiration, start with a holiday destination that can offer you all the above. The rest, is a history of amazing memories.