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Seaside strolls have a variety of health benefits and boost brain functioning

According to neuroscientist Rachel Taylor, who recently collaborated with the outdoor retailer TOG24 to promote the benefits of seaside strolls, exposure to sea air has a variety of health benefits. Sea air improves our brain functioning and helps our body produce the necessary chemicals we need to keep us balanced, well, and healthy.

“When people breathe in sea air, the ions contained in it help boosting the electrical functionality of the brain by 47 percent as well as creating new neural pathways, which – simply put – allows you to think with more clarity,” she explained.

Oxytocin boost from seaside strolls

Walking by the sea in social groups could also promote the release of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a significant role in social bonding, trust, and love. 

“Walking in the fresh air raises oxytocin levels, the in-group hormone,” Taylor said. “If you feel you don’t belong or are not part of something, you don’t produce oxytocin. A family walk by the sea will release oxytocin and make everyone feel they belong.”

Mental health benefits of sea air

Moreover, a trip to the beach is likely to instill a positive sense of awe and wonder, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals struggling with low self-esteem. 

Looking around and connecting to the vastness of the sea could help people see their own problems and worries from a larger perspective, which can increase their wellbeing, and potentially inspire their creativity too. As Taylor puts it, “the sea air blows the sulks as well as the cobwebs away!”

Finally, science has proven that feeling the sand beneath our feet and between our toes reduces inflammation in the body and brain. In addition, gazing at the sky can make us feel energized by providing a signal from the eyes to the brain to wake up. Thus, seaside strolls can have multiple benefits for both bodily and mental health and well-being.

Electrical signals and brain functioning

The brain is a complex organ that carries out a vast range of functions using a combination of electrical and chemical processes. Here’s a basic overview of how electrical functionality in the brain works:

Neurons and synapses

Approximately 86 billion neurons make up the brain. Specialized cells known as neurons transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle cells, or gland cells. Synapses connect neurons to each other.

Electrical signals important for brain functioning

A neuron carries information in the form of electrical signals. A sensory input or another neuron generates these electrical signals when they stimulate a neuron.

An electrical charge is created by the flow of ions (charged atoms) across the cell membrane. This is often called an action potential.

Transmission of the signals

Once an action potential has been generated, it travels along the axon of the neuron until it reaches the end. Here, it triggers the release of neurotransmitters, which are chemical signals.

Communication between neurons

The neurotransmitters cross the synapse, the tiny gap between neurons, and bind to receptors on the next neuron. This can either trigger or inhibit a new action potential in that neuron, depending on the type of neurotransmitter and the type of receptor.

Neural networks and brain functioning

Through the process of transmitting signals from neuron to neuron, complex networks of neural pathways are formed. These are the basis for everything our brains do, from basic bodily functions to complex cognition.


The connections between neurons aren’t fixed. They can be strengthened, weakened, created, or removed over time, a property known as neuroplasticity. This is the fundamental mechanism behind learning and memory.

Electricity and brain waves

The collective electrical activity from millions of neurons contributes to the brain’s electric field and can be detected outside the skull. These patterns of activity are what we refer to when we talk about brain waves, which can be measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Overall, the electrical activity of the brain is crucial for its functions, from the simplest reflex to the most complex thoughts.

More about the benefits of seaside strolls 

Seaside strolls or walks along the beach can have numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Here are some of them:

Improved cardiovascular health

Like any form of aerobic exercise, beach walking can help improve heart health by increasing our heart rate and enhancing circulation.

Vitamin D absorption

A walk along the beach is an excellent opportunity to get some sun, which promotes the body’s production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and it can also enhance the immune system.

Mental health benefits of sea air

The relaxing sounds of waves crashing, the visual appeal of the horizon, and the scent of the sea air can provide a relaxing and stress-relieving experience, which can help reduce anxiety and boost mood.

Improved respiratory health

Seaside air is often fresher and cleaner with higher levels of oxygen, which can be beneficial for individuals with respiratory issues.

Strength training

Walking on sand requires more effort compared to walking on solid ground. This extra effort can help strengthen your muscles, particularly your legs and core.

Low-impact exercise

Walking on sand is softer on the joints compared to walking on concrete or asphalt. This makes beach strolls an excellent exercise option for people with joint conditions or those recovering from injury.

Improved sleep from seaside strolls

Regular exercise like beach walking can promote better sleep. Additionally, spending time outdoors and soaking in natural light helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, contributing to healthier sleep patterns.

Increased creativity

Being in a natural, relaxing environment can stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.


By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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