Seas the day: How to love the ocean

June 07, 2023

Seas the day: How to love the ocean

Our oceans are the planet’s lifeblood. Critical for the planet’s health, the sea is also critical for our health. On a big scale, they feed us, regulate our climate, and generate most of the oxygen we breathe. On a smaller scale, they support our physical and mental health – through physical activity, reducing stress, socialising and being outdoors in nature. In fact, being by the sea is so good for your health it can be now prescribed by your doctor.

But it’s not just about taking health benefits from the sea. We need to develop a reciprocal relationship – one where we give back. So, how can we show our love for the ocean?

Deakin & Blue Swimcrop Bikini Beach Meadow

Get physical

The Victorians made ‘getting the sea air’ popular. And they were on to something – you don’t even have to get into the sea to enjoy its health-giving properties.

The University of Exeter did an experiment where they got three groups of menopausal women on exercise bikes to do the same workout. The first group cycled in front of a blank wall, the second group had a projected view of a forest to look at, and the third group had a projection of the sea. Researchers found that the third group not only worked out harder, they also enjoyed the workout more and reported greater feelings of satisfaction. So, walking, cycling, jogging by the sea is more satisfying than anywhere else because of those amazing blue views.

Plenty of us love getting into the sea, though. Swimming, paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking, the cold water and being on the waves is fun and invigorating. Being outdoors, floating in the water, learning something new – the sea takes being active to a different level. It invigorates, refreshes and helps us feel better about life and about ourselves.

“Three months after finishing chemotherapy I went on a surf trip,” says Ameera. “Looking back, I think ‘what was I doing?’ ‘Why would you do that?’. But at the time it had felt like I’d been stuck inside for so long because of chemotherapy. I had cabin fever and so it was a bit of escapism. I was no good at surfing but I didn’t care. It was beyond enough to think ‘wow, I’m in the sea. I’m meeting people, I’m getting outside. I’m alive’.”

A huge part of that joy is that the sea offers opportunities to socialise. There’s something about being focussed on an activity together, in sharing an experience that makes socialising easier and rewarding. Ability doesn’t matter either – the sea is bigger and stronger than us all and in that challenging environment, the emphasis is on supporting one another and cheering each other on.

What to do:

  1. Hike the coast path– The National Trust has a list of great walks for all abilities
  2. Try surfing– search for surf schools or type ‘women’s only surf groups beginners’ for welcoming groups around the UK
  3. Hire a paddle board– search paddle board hire at a location near you
  4. Join a local swim group– nationwide groups like the Bluetits welcome newbies or search on Facebook

Deakin & Blue Longsleeve Swimsuit

Connect with nature

People who love being in, on and by the sea love that immediate connection with the natural world. Even if you are in an urban space, you go to the beach, hear the gulls and the waves, breathe in the sea air and feel the sand or pebbles beneath your feet and feel instantly revived.

“It’s my go to for my peace in myself, for helping me develop self-love and gratitude, for helping me to appreciate my life and being healthy,” says Brighton sea swimmer, Deb. “Anyone can do it and I really think the immediate contact with the natural world it gives you is like nothing else. After a sea swim I feel immense.”

Over lockdown, that connection with nature became a lifeline for many people. So much so that it triggered new research into why being in nature is so good for our health and wellbeing. Interestingly, it also showed that our connection with nature had benefits for the environment too, as people who enjoy the natural world feel more incentivised to help protect it.

This research shows that the more connected with nature we are, the happier and more worthwhile we feel about life. This comes from the positive emotions it generates, such as calmness, joy, creativity and better concentration. And this connection promotes more environmentally friendly behaviour like reducing plastic use, recycling or buying seasonal food.

What to do:

  1. Go on a wildlife spotting boat trip– spot seabirds, seals and dolphins
  2. Go rock-pooling– find amazing wildlife in the tiniest habitats
  3. Visit an RSPB reserve– or join a seabird event

Deakin & Blue Recycled Ocean Waste Econyl

Look after the environment

What about our reciprocal relationship with the sea? Our planet is in trouble because humankind has a habit of taking resources like oil and fish and not giving back. And we’ve all seen those distressing pictures of sea creatures caught in plastic.

“There are five large Garbage Patches around the world and the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch is the 3rd biggest at over 5 million kilometres squared. It’s essentially a massive gyre of litter suspended in the water column and consists of an array of different waste: discarded fishing gear, plastics, chemical sludge and other debris,” says Francesca, founder of Love The Oceans. “Whilst a lot of this trash is believed to come from developing nations, we (the UK) actually export a lot of our waste to these nations which then ends up in the ocean so a lot of it actually comes down to us in the UK changing our habits.”

So, it’s more important than ever that we think about how we give back to the ocean environment. We already know that people who are connected with nature are more inclined to look after it, so actually, encouraging and supporting each other to enjoy time in, on and by the sea is an important part of protecting it.

When you’re at the beach or sea front, you can ensure you’re accountable for your own behaviour by picking up any rubbish you find and making sure you don’t leave anything behind. On a bigger scale, your behaviour as a consumer has an impact – reducing your carbon footprint and use of single-use plastic, making sustainable seafood choices and supporting charities like Love The Oceans.

What to do:

  1. A 2-minute beach clean– every time you visit the beach, spend just two minutes picking up litter
  2. Buy your swimwear from D&B– of course! All our swimwear is made from recycled ocean waste
  3. Use reusables– the easiest plastic-free hack of all is to use reusable cups, bottles, straws, sanitary items, bags and containers
  4. Share your love of the ocean– shout about it, take a friend and support organisations that help look after the sea, such as Surfers Against Sewage and Love The Oceans.