I know, I know, swimming in the sea when you’re not on holiday in some exotic far-flung destination hasn’t exactly got a glamorous reputation. British shores are often lined with pebbles which leave your feet sore and you feeling wildly self-conscious as you grimace your way back to your towel. There’s also the seaweed to contend with, the near-freezing temperatures and of course the fluctuating tides. Have I made taking a dip at the local seaside sound appealing yet?
With the majority of us staying home – or at least in the UK – this summer, there’s never been a greater opportunity to swim in the sea, even if you normally wouldn’t.
I got into it last year, as the perfect way for a heavily pregnant woman to escape the heat (and the pandemic), and plan on getting back in on the action this year.
But it’s not only fun, it actually has a lot of health benefits too – many of which have been handily listed by Island Cottage Holidays with the help of experts David Sautter, Sarah Rose De Vore and Dr Gregory Warwick. Swimming in the sea is truly very good for you. Here’s why you should give it a go…
Makes you feel good – The release of serotonin and dopamine from working out (and from being outside), give you a hit of the feel-good hormones.
Releases tense muscles – Soaking in salt water alleviates achy joints and eases pain by reducing inflammation.
Good for your heart – Any decent workout improves your cardiovascular health, including a sea swim.
Improves lung and sinus health – Long-term lung health is improved because of the exercise, whilst breathing in the salty air relieves sinus pressure.
Promotes good thyroid health – Increased iodine levels from swimming in salty water which is important for healthy thyroid function and immunity.
Positive impact on mental health – Reduced anxiety and depression due to slower heart rate and reduced stress hormone production and also reduces the risk of relapse with pre-existing mental health difficulties through long-term and regular cardiovascular exercise.
Obviously it’s important to check weather and tide conditions before heading into the sea, and also to build up some experience and enduring beforehand in a regular pool.