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Health Matters: The benefits of the water

Health Care 13 Jan, 2021 Follow News

Amber Barnes in red with fellow marine campers (Photos credit Ocean Frontiers)

Student Amber Barnes loving the undersea world

Ocean Frontiers Marine Camp was a hit

The global pandemic has placed our health at the core of everything we do, so the Caymanian Times has begun 2021 with a new column focusing on health issues to get people in Cayman fighting fit for the New Year and beyond.

 

In Cayman we take for granted the fact that we can take a cooling dip in the ocean pretty much whenever we want, surrounded as we are by blissfully warm, clear waters. A dip in the sea, a dive underwater, a paddle in a kayak or even just a walk by the ocean is enough to lift one’s spirits and give ourselves a physical booster.

Scientific studies have backed up our theories, such as one 2017 study by Swim England published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which highlighted the health and wellbeing benefits of swimming, noting that it was the “perfect place for people of all ages to exercise, particularly those with long term health conditions”.

According to the report, the study revealed that swimmers live longer and regular swimming helps older people stay mentally and physically fit.

At the other end of the age spectrum, it also found that swimming lessons helped children to develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker than those who did not have lessons. Another crucial finding noted that swimming lowered the risk of early death by 28 per cent.

In July 2020, the University of Exeter, highlighted a study undertaken by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, finding that short, frequent walks in blue spaces (places where water was found - lakes, rivers, the ocean) could positively affect well-being and mood. The study monitored 59 adults who spent 20 minutes daily for a week walking near water. Then they spent the same time walking in an area without water. They spent another week not walking. Their blood pressure and heart rates were monitored throughout and they were required to assess their mood. Researchers saw significant improvement in well-being and mood after the walk by water.

“I love being in the water because you get to see so many different things than you see on land and it is so much more peaceful too,” said 16-year old student Amber Barnes. “It’s also a great way to get away from all the stress in life.”

She participated in Ocean Frontiers’ Marine Camp over Christmas and is an avid swimmer and diver and at 16 has already learnt to appreciate the benefits of our unique location.


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