4 Reasons Escaping to the Coast Will Make You Happy and Healthy

Living a happy and healthy life. It’s what we all want. Especially now.

With serious health threats and limits to our lifestyles, no one would blame us if we wanted to escape.

But to where? The mountains, the woods, to Grandma’s house?

Sadly, unless we’re off to Mars (not happening) there is nowhere on Earth that’s 100% virus free.

Well, technically there is, but they [insert virus free place] probably won’t let us in, on or near without a serious struggle, and we don’t want struggle.

No, we want happiness and health. So, let’s escape to the coast where it’s truly possible.

Ocean Breezes Are Really a Breath of Fresh Air, Despite Marine Poop Cocktail

breathing fresh coastal air

The salty, slightly fishy smell hits us first as we near the coast. The air usually tinged with sweet suntan lotion is gone, as summer has given way to fall, and the ocean breeze kisses us coolly.

 We wonder what causes the salty fishy smell and after a quick search on Science Focus we find out it is a byproduct of the critters living in the ocean, and that seaweed has eggs and sperm and sex pheromones.  Really, seaweed?

But even with the newfound knowledge of the ocean as a big cocktail of marine poop, we still breathe in the air deeply, because somehow, we just know ocean air is good for us.

Perhaps it’s just an unavoidable physical response or knowledge in our bones from our sea faring ancestors.

Fortunately, cystic fibrosis research, and doctors down under have determined that “Inhaling salt water rehydrates the lining of the lungs and loosens the thick mucus…” and that “young surfers with cystic fibrosis had significantly healthier lungs.”  

These findings bode well for the healing benefits of ocean air, not only for sufferers of serious lung conditions, but also for those of us wanting to just live healthier lives.

What, Something Negative is Good?

It’s not often that something negative is good, but when it comes to ions, being negative is good.

And the coast has them in much higher abundance than our homes or businesses do. In fact, the beach “is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions.”

But why are they so good?

Because they increase oxygen to the brain and even “lower blood lactate levels and elevate mood” says author, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols in his book Blue Mind.

With a health and happiness generator running 24 hours 7 days a week right off our coast, it makes sense to visit there as much as possible and enjoy the free benefits that nature provides.

Laid Back Vibe

Some of us are lucky enough to live on the coast and many of us have visited the coast on vacations.

My family and I vacationed on the coast almost every year, growing up in South Africa. And every year, it was a long 8-hour drive from the then called Transvaal, to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The long 8-hour drive was always worth it, because once we arrived, the warm sweet and salty air stirred feelings of excitement, adventure, and a stress-free laid-back vibe.

And even now, the smell of the coast here in Encinitas, San Diego invokes the same feelings.

Thankfully now, knowing the benefits of fresh air and negative ions, I can access those laid-back happy feelings with a simple visit to the coast, and you can too.

Happy people on coast

Runner’s High, Surfer’s Stoke, Coastal Calm

We all know by now that exercise is great for our health and happiness. But exercising on the coast provides us with an extra dose of benefits.

Exercising in fresh salty air helps clear out our lungs.

Exposure to negative ions helps boost our blood oxygen levels, as well as serotonin levels which according to WebMD helps to “alleviate depression, relive stress, and boost daytime energy.”

Additionally, the coastal climate being more temperate than inland locations is more conducive to exercising outside, and at any time of the day.

Furthermore, we can walk, run, or hike on the beach as well as just along the coastline, and swim, surf, SUP, boogie board or scuba dive easily in the ocean.

All of these coastal exercise options are conducive to what is known as runner’s high, or more aptly surfer’s stoke, which Nichols refers to in Blue Mind as a “Zen-like experience” where surfers report “feeling calmer and happier after a session on the water.”

Who wouldn’t want to experience a Zen like experience after exercising? So bring on the runner’s high, the surfer’s stoke, the coastal calm.

Let’s Drink to the Marine Poop Cocktail

All in all, despite the marine poop cocktail, or maybe because of it really, there are four great reasons to escape to the coast: Fresh healthy air, negative ions, a laid-back happy vibe, and coastal Zen like calm.

All great reasons to make you happy and healthy.