Australian’s are well versed in the benefits of living near the beach, with an estimated 85% living within 50km of the coast. It is a trend that is set to continue, as evidenced by Terrigal’s growing popularity for Sydney-siders looking to find their piece of waterfront paradise, away from the crowded beaches of Bondi and Coogee. So why are we so drawn to the ocean? We take a look at the science behind Terrigal’s attraction.
Most of us hold fond memories of packing the family car to the rafters and heading off up the coast to pitch a tent in a caravan park near the beach. The early morning dashes into the fresh sea spray, the simple pleasures of a cold, sweet ice-cream that drips down your wrist and the adventures scrambling over the rocks and hunting for the perfect shell.
Paddling in the Terrigal rock pool with water lapping around your knees, you can almost imagine you were back in the days of your childhood. The calm, shallow pool summons you to splash about with your children or grandchildren and the pristine waves along the beach and at Terrigal Haven draw families from right across the state.
Better Sleep Patterns
Do you feel as though you sleep better when near the ocean? It isn’t your imagination. The fresh, clean air contains higher levels of oxygen which can aid in a restful night’s sleep. The soft repetitive sounds of the ocean can also be very soothing, with clinical psychologist Richard Shuster, PsyD, explaining “staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Mental and Physical Health
The ocean has a profound impact on our mental wellbeing. Some scientists attribute this to the space that being near the water gives us. Most of us experience sensory overload for much of the day, and our brain is overwhelmed with processing all of the sights, sounds, and smells that it encounters. Being near the water gives you a sense of peace and stillness that is hard to replicate elsewhere.
This sense of tranquillity has also been found to help your physical energy levels, helping you to exercise for longer. Scientists attribute this to a better mental focus and reduced strain from external stimulation. This means that you can extend your barefoot stroll along the sand and then meander along the walkway towards Broken Head. If you are feeling particularly energetic, the view from the Skillion after tackling the steep climb is spectacular.
Minerals in the Sea Water
As well as being an excellent form of exercise, swimming has been linked to decreased anxiety and depression. Swimming in seawater has a host of additional benefits. The iodine, magnesium and potassium found in sea water can help the body to heal, detoxify and fight infection. There is an array of other water activities to try as well, like surfing lessons, stand-up paddling on the lagoon, kayaking or snorkelling.
If you needed another excuse to head to the beach or surrender to the call of the coast– consider it an investment in your health!