The Best Mental Health Medicine Includes Water

I recently shared some research from England demonstrating the health benefits of living within two miles of the coast. The key takeaways from the study showed that those who are close to the beach are more inclined to seek it out and are more active. Now scientists from the University of Exeter have expanded upon those findings with additional research as part of what they’re calling “BlueHealth". They found that the coastal benefit extends to those who live 3.1 miles from the beach, with the greatest benefit derived by those who live within .6 miles. They also saw that people who visit the beach at least twice a week have better general and mental health. Plus, the benefits of what’s being coined “blue space” might be more effective than many prescribed drugs for depression and anxiety.

It looks like the closer to the coast you live, the more likely you are to visit the beach. No surprise there. The more likely you are to visit the beach the more likely you are to be active gaining the physical benefit of walking to and from the beach as well as on the beach. And then there’s the beach itself. While studying the blue space effect, researchers found that the benefit was similar around all water. So, lakes, rivers and in some cases even canals help us achieve similar benefits. 

Finding water and spending time around it might well prove to be the best mental health medicine available for most people. That’s another reason to love South Florida. Not many of us live farther than 3 miles from water. Spend more time around it, live a better, happier life. Doctor’s orders. 

Photo by: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

 

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