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The healthiest place on earth (when it hasn't been raining!) is driving distance from your front door. Photo by Chris Ahrens
Columns Waterspot

Waterspot: Finding the sunshine and saltwater cure

What little surf there is is blown out. Overcast and raining off and on, it’s not a good time for outdoor activities anyway. Movies are out as I’ve heard that sitting in a crowded theater increase the chances of acquiring the proverbial elephant that is stomping through everyone’s mind. You know, that unseen pachyderm keeping guard over the front door, making us all prisoners in our own homes? Of course, I understand the need for these precautions, but …

I’m not much of a drinker, and even if I was, the bars are closed. Our No. 1 distraction and attraction, surfing, and its various offshoots are presently off the fun list as oil, pesticides, and other pollutants have drained into the sea after two weeks of heavy rain. Our favorite playground is now an unhealthy destination. Once the weather changes, however, your local surf spots will again be listed among the healthiest, happiest places on earth. Waves, as anyone who has ever ridden one or more of them knows, lead to healthier and happier lives.

While it seems obvious that the above statements are true, the evidence for it is primarily anecdotal. For those requiring further (anecdotal) “proof,” reflect for a moment on those hot, glassy days we shared last summer. Remember being out in nothing but a bathing suit, trading hoots and good rides with a few friends? Not only does it feel great while you’re out there but once home that mellow buzz lingers on your senses and continues to sweeten your dreams. For many of us, the quality of the waves is nearly irrelevant. The main thing is the party atmosphere and simply gathering in the ocean, under the sun. I not only need to remind you but myself of this self-evident truth on this cloudy day when summer appears like a distant memory.

If your memory is not enough to convince you that you are doing the right thing by going into the ocean, consider that saltwater contains many healing minerals and sunshine releases large doses of vitamin D into the system. Without this essential nutrient, various ailments including depression can occur. Of course, it’s not wise to overdo any good thing and does not warrant saying that placing your body on bake mode in the midday heat is a bad idea.

Another factor contributing to joy generated by running water is the unfairly named negative ions released in waterfalls and breaking waves. Negative ions, as many of you know, produce positive results. And you don’t need to surf to experience their benefits; simply get down to the ocean, stick your bare feet into the shore break and soak in a free and natural high. Being fully immersed in saltwater while swimming or bodysurfing the water rushes over you and quickly washes you clean of most physical, mental and spiritual ailments.

Whatever is bothering you disappears, at least for a moment. 

For those with an iron grip on the remote, hovering dangerously near the TV, addicted to all that bad news, don’t allow your hopes to sink any further. Breathe deep and visualize the brilliance of the summer days that are just two flicks of the calendar away. The world is more than toilet paper and stocks and bonds. There’s a whole ocean of possibilities out there waiting for your rediscovery. There, I feel better already.

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