Keeping the blues at bay

Keeping the blues at bay

Coastal living can be good medicine. Research increasingly suggests that visiting the beach or living near “blue” spaces like rivers, lakes and coastal areas is good for our mental health. And that helps us maintain physical well-being. It’s called blue health.

A 2020 British study, described as one of the most detailed investigations ever of seaside living’s benefit to mental health, boosts the beach life as a good way to protect against the blues.

The study by University of Exeter researchers examined data from 26,000 people who had been surveyed about their mental well-being. The investigation found those living in poorer households in large towns or cities within a kilometer of a coast experienced fewer mental health disorders than those living in urban areas more than 50 kilometers farther away.

The researchers say this adds to growing evidence that blue spaces might be good for our health. They also say this sort of information is important to persuade governments to improve access to the waterfront to benefit everyone’s health, whether they’re rich or poor.

The scientists noted they are not the first to demonstrate an association between good mental health and proximity to water. Dozens of studies have made such a connection.

Beaches and watery worlds promote exercise, which improves mental and physical wellness. And many suggest that those magnificent ocean views and the soothing sound of waves lapping a beach are a soothing tonic to both mind and body.

Of course, we aren’t all lucky enough to live near those tranquilizing waves. But an occasional visit might be just what the doctor ordered.

Related Episodes