7 science-supported benefits of living near the ocean

There are reasons why living near the ocean is so desirable. Aside from the obvious beauty, there are tons of health and wellness benefits. Let’s check them out!

Natural stress relief and enhanced mindfulness

The sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore has got to be one of the best natural stress reliefs on the planet. Hearing it on a daily basis can lower cortisol levels, which leads to greater calm and relaxed states of mind.

In fact, the rhythmic cadence of waves can help synchronize your brain waves and help get you into meditative states of mental clarity and emotional resilience.

Improved air quality with added microbial benefits

Fresh ocean air is not only cleaner air, but it’s charged with negative ions that enhance oxygen absorption and balance serotonin levels (serotonin is our body’s mood and stress chemical).

This is why we tend to feel more alert, relaxed, and energized after some time at the beach.

Seaside air also contains beneficial microorganisms that could help strengthen your immune system and boost your overall health.

Better physical and mental fitness

Living near the beach makes it much easier — and frankly, more enticing — to embrace an active lifestyle. It’s like having a giant swimming pool, running track, and wide open field to exercise the way you like.

But let’s also talk about the effect of wide open vistas on the brain.

Wide open vistas, like what you’d see when looking out at the ocean, can lower activity in the amygdala (the brain’s fear center), and increase activity in the frontal lobe.

Now we’ve got less mental clutter, sharper focus, reduced anxiety, and more rational decision-making.

The magic of sunshine and full-spectrum light exposure

Okay, it’s not “living by the sea” per se, but we need to mention getting moderate doses of sunshine — which is abundant year-round in Maui.

Exposure to sunlight provides essential vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health and immune function.

Beyond UV light, full-spectrum light exposure helps regulate sleep patterns through melatonin production, which is good for bone health and immune functions.

And for anyone who’s lived through a cold, dark winter — sunshine is crucial for mental health, including the prevention of seasonal depression.

Therapeutic effects of seawater and mineral absorption

Fact: I always feel better after I come out of the ocean.

Ocean water is rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iodine, which are absorbed through the skin (while swimming) and respiratory system (while breathing the ocean air): aka pure body therapy:

  • Magnesium supports over 300 biochemical reactions, including muscle and nerve function. It’s often lacking in our diets.
  • Iodine is vital for thyroid health. It’s needed for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, energy production, and cellular repair.
  • Potassium plays a huge role in maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, and heart health by regulating blood pressure and heart rhythms.
  • Other trace minerals found in sea mist can also improve respiratory health by reducing inflammation and aiding mucus clearance, which can help alleviate asthma.
  • Also, seawater minerals help hydrate your skin and can help heal skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Creates a sense of belonging

Because the ocean and beach are so awesome, it brings people together.

Living near the ocean makes it so much easier to feel a sense of belonging and part of a community. Social events such as beach clean-ups, surf contests, festivals, and even bonfires can give huge boosts to our social lives.

Beachfront communities also come together when there are emergencies or threats to the natural spaces and resources from developers, new projects, etc.

Connection to nature and ecotherapy

Let’s wrap this up a talk about “ecotherapy.”

Living close to the ocean engages all senses, which is huge for stress reduction and mood enhancement.

The vast, beautiful vistas of the beach create a cognitive shift known as the “overview effect,” which lowers egoic thinking, boosts mindfulness and present moment awareness — and help us feel more connected to the world.

Image credits: Giorgia Romiti, Kenneth Oh, Karsten Winegeart, Benjamin R., Sean, Michael Olsen, Paul Blessington, John Bell, Mitch Meyers, Jeremy Bishop

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.