Summer wouldn’t be complete without a picture of an endless blue horizon, the big crashing waves, fresh ocean air, and sun-kissed skin. We can’t deny the invigorating energy the sea gives as we dive and splash into its playful waves.
A trip to the beach is a time to refresh and unwind. It can give us more than just another Instagram-worthy pictures to post. In fact, color psychologists confirm that the color blue reflected by the clear sky and water naturally can make us feel relaxed, calm our mind, and reduce anxiety
Swimming in the ocean gives us benefits that go beyond its stress-relieving qualities. It is also beneficial to our bodies as it strengthens our muscles, increases endurance, and boosts our skin health, and even improve our mood.
There’s a pretty good reason why open water swimming (swimming in the ocean) is a part of fitness competitions like triathlons. Swimming in the open water is a type of exercise that challenges the body differently to your typical swimming pool routine workout. It requires significant strength and endurance. According to a published article of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance (May 2017), competitive open water swimmers were shown to have the ability to exercise beyond their VO2 max for extended periods.
VO2 max is the maximum oxygen you can use up during exercise. It’s commonly used to measure the aerobic endurance of the cardiovascular fitness of athletes before and at the end of a training cycle.
Open water swimming requires continuous propelling through the waves and resisting side-to-side forces. By continually doing this exercise, swimmers develop tighter and stronger core muscles.
Another advantage of swimming in the ocean is its potential health benefits. The Dead Sea, in particular, is famous for its healing properties. Soaking in the famous Dead Sea has been proven to reduce pain and improve joint motion in people with arthritis. Moreover, seawater has also shown benefits in the treatment of psoriasis, like a skin disease that causes red, scaly, and itchy patches in the skin that can be painful.
The ocean is often captioned as “vitamin sea.” However, seawater is not loaded with vitamins but is high in minerals, specifically magnesium. This mineral is the key to healthy bones, muscles, and nerves. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure and metabolize insulin (a hormone that helps balance blood sugar levels). According to a published study, magnesium levels in the body increase after 60-120 minutes of immersion in seawater. Though the evidence is still lacking to support the absorption of the mineral in the skin.
Splashing in the sea is can also boost your mood and is helpful to your mental health. A study found that a regular open water swimming caused an immediate improvement in the mood of a patient with depressive disorder. Continued exposure to open water swimming further reduced the symptoms of depression.
For super-swimmer-wannabees who can’t seem to float in freshwater swimming pools, the sea is the perfect place to enjoy floating while not trying too hard. The density of the saltwater does the trick! How does the density of saltwater work? In physics, Archimedes’ principle of Density states that an object is buoyed up by force equal to the fluid’s weight, displaced by the object, whether it is partly or wholly immersed in a fluid.
Freshwater is 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, while saltwater weighs 64 pounds. Denser (heavier) water produces more force to keep you afloat. Since saltwater is denser than freshwater, you can float easily in the sea than in a pool.
A combination of salt density and depth of water contributes to increased buoyancy of swimmers. Swimming in saltwater is easier because the body is higher in the water, which gives way to the swimmer to surf and glide, compared to swimmers whose bodies are lower in the water have to exert more effort to move forward.
Swimmers with a lower specific gravity are more buoyant than others, whether in the saltwater of freshwater. Women typically have more fat than men are known to have a lower particular gravity, so they tend to float. People are more likely to sink if they have a higher proportion of bone and muscle to fat are more likely to sink.