Living by the seaside can improve your mental health, a study has suggested.
Research has suggested that those living by the seaside are less likely to experience mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Scientists from Exeter University found that people who living around half a mile from a coast are less likely to experience to depression and anxiety.
The researchers suggested that the coast could act as a “protective zone” for mental wellbeing and they also pointed out the connection between health and the environment, commenting on “Blue Health”.
Study leaders looked at physical and mental wellbeing data on more than 26,000 people and then compared it to how far away they were from the seaside.
They found that those who lived less than one kilometre from the seaside were 22 per cent less likely to experience mental health problems, compared to those who lived more than 50km away from the coast.
The team also found that the impact is even greater in poorer households nearer to the sea, with low income households in the same area around 40 per cent less likely to experience a mental health condition.
The interesting study, which was published in the journal Health and Place, suggested that if those living in towns and cities had easier access to the coast it could help to even the playing field between the different residents.
“Our research suggests, for the first time, that people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders,” said Dr Jo Garrett, lead author of the study.
”When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income.”
“This kind of research into blue health is vital to convincing governments to protect, create and encourage the use of coastal spaces,” agreed Dr Mathew White, environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter.
“We need to help policy makers understand how to maximise the wellbeing benefits of ‘blue’ spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments.”