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Health benefits of sailing

by Nancy Knudsen on 18 Mar 2014
This is not fun it’s only for health reasons .. .
Do you have to justify days spent on the water - to your family? your boss? yourself? Is it not just egotistical hedonism, an escape from responsibilities? Maybe, but now researchers have discovered scientifically (which we privately knew all along) that sailing is actually the same as going to a health farm (and cheaper, probably, depending on the yacht). Here are the results, brought to you by Dr Gillian McKeith, who was focussing on healthy foods, but here's what she said as well:

The sound and feel of sea water:
Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.

Most people in good weather on boats, do a lot of swimming. Floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region - the part of the body near the heart - because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.

The researchers also analysed the effects of the individual compounds in seawater and said that two of them - salt and potassium chloride are the main healers. They seal the damaged skin and allow it to mend.

The researchers also claimed that bathing in seawater increases the elasticity of the skin, and improves its outer appearance.

Fresh air for sleep
If you've ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day sailing, it's because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after a sailing adventure you feel more alert, relaxed and energised.

Sun for feeling good and skin conditions
When we're lying on the deck, the heat of the sun affects our endocrine system - the part of our body which secretes endorphins - the natural chemicals in our body designed to make us feel relaxed and less stressed.

And, a certain amount of sun can be good for some skin complaints such as psoriasis - a chronic skin disease where scaly pink pataches form on the elbows, knees and scalp.

Ultra violet radiation (UV light) is a common treatment for this skin complaint, says Dr Rodney O'Donnell, a doctor who is involved in studying the health effects of the Dead Sea. This is because a small amount of ultra violet radiation from the sun's rays helps dry the skin, making it flake off and allowing healing to take place.

Living Food for Health by Dr Gillian McKeith is published by Piatkus. If your local book shop does not stock it you can purchase it on Amazon by clicking here.

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