Want to know a great cure for the blues? A trip to the seaside with your dog. Taking a beach holiday has been scientifically proven to enhance your mental health and wellbeing. And it’s not just those coastal strolls with your four-legged friends that leave you feeling relaxed. Blue mind theories suggest that time by the sea does wonders for your health – from lowering stress levels and enhancing sleep, to alleviating depression and decreasing your blood pressure.
The UK is perfect for blue health breaks. As a small island, nowhere is ever too far from the sea which plenty of scenic coastal destinations and activities to enjoy with a four-legged friend. Here’s why a dog-friendly seaside holiday is just what you need to lift your mood and boost your health:
Coastal Walks With Your Dog Promote Well Being
Ever wondered why you feel so happy and content after a coastal yomp with your hound at your heels? Just taking a walk and breathing in the sea air helps lift your mood, as negatively charged ions help to absorb oxygen and increase serotonin levels – the all-essential hormone for regulating your mood. So whether you stroll along a horseshoe bay or tackle calf-busting cliff paths to take in giddy views, it’s not just the eye-popping scenery that leaves you feeling high on life. Cornwall is an obvious choice for wellbeing trips to the coast, but Devon, Dorset, Norfolk and Pembrokeshire are also ideal destinations for dog-walking getaways by the sea.
Barefoot Beach Walks Improve Circulation
It’s not just the dog that feels happier after padding along sandy shores. When you shed your shoes and wander barefoot along the sand, the direct contact with the elements leaves you feeling even more grounded and connected to nature, while massaging the soles of your feet, releasing soothing and rejuvenating sensations with the added bonus of improving circulation and fitness. It’s the simplest of blue health activities for you and your dog to enjoy together. For long sandy beaches to pad along, make a beeline for Devon, Cornwall, Anglesey and the white-sand beaches of Scotland.
Watching Waves Makes You More Positive
Wandering along the shoreline and gazing out to sea promotes a positive mindset. Simply watching the ocean brings us back into the moment, drawing our focus to the movement and light on the water, which reduces stress levels by distracting us from internal thought patterns. This mindfulness decreases stress and snaps us into a different, more positive mindset. So take a break from throwing the ball for Fido, pause and let yourself be mesmerised by the ocean. Wave watching is possible almost anywhere along the UK coastline. For somewhere different, hop aboard a ferry for an island break with your dog on the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Man.
Blue Mind Meditation Reduces Stress
The colour blue is associated with calmness and feelings of peace. Take a moment to ease yourself into a meditative state by focusing your gaze on the sea, tuning into the sound of the waves and breathing in time to the ebb and flow. When busy thoughts pop into your mind, gently push them away and hone back into the soothing sounds and sights of the elements. Even a brief meditation beside the big blue will increase the blood flow to your brain, lower cortisol levels (a stress-inducing hormone) and enhance the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. This blue health activity also gives your four-legged friend a chance to lie down and relax.
Sea Dipping Boosts Your Immune System
Have you experienced the pure joy of frolicking in the whitewater with your dog? Plunging into cold water has all sorts of benefits, from boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation to alleviating stress, improving your mood and even delaying the onset of degenerative diseases such as dementia. When you feel the rush of immersion into the watery playground, you’re activating the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and increasing your levels of dopamine and serotonin. We could wax lyrical about the scientific benefits, or you could just get yourself down to the seaside and dive in with your dog. St Ives in Cornwall, Swanage in Dorset and Tenby in Pembrokeshire are well-known destinations for sea dips.
Time By The Sea Takes You Away From Technology
The ‘digital detox’ is becoming all the rage. The truth is that we all spend too much time tied to our screens, and being beside the sea is the perfect place to unplug and disconnect from ‘technostress’. With your dog at your side, the crashing of the waves and gulls soaring overhead, your senses are piqued and there’s no space to worry about emails and Insta feeds. Being immersed in nature reduces stress hormones (cortisol) and blood sugar levels, consequently boosting the body’s natural resistance to disease – a resistance that is often suppressed under the modern-day stress of our tech-led lifestyles.
Is 2023 The Time For A Blue Health Break With Your Dog?
The UK boasts thousands of miles of coastline to explore with your hound at your heels. Check out our range of dog-friendly holiday cottages where you can boost your health and wellbeing on a dog-friendly holiday by the beach.
For more inspiration for healthy holidays, read our article on 7 Wellbeing Activities for Your Next Dog-Friendly Holiday.