Seaside dwellers enjoy better health

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 4th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Fresh mountain air or warm sea breeze: Which is better for your health? Some people swear salty air mends all ills, while others herald the majesty of mountains. So what does science say? A new study by the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health lends evidence to the idea that the cure for anything is saltwater. Census data from more than 48 million Brits found that those lucky enough to live on the coast enjoyed slightly better health.

It’s a small difference, but other studies have shown that living in or near good environments could decrease the disparity between the wealthiest and poorest members of society. Seaside cities offer more opportunities for residents to stay active and cut stress, even when compared with the countryside or green spaces. After all, who doesn’t feel happier, more relaxed and revitalized after a nice long weekend at the beach?

But even if you’re not lucky enough to reside seaside, you can create your own stress-reducing getaway with a few special touches. Hang photos of your favorite beach scene around your home and office, and include scents like coconut or pineapple to bring the sights and smells of the sea to you. Aromatherapy can provide real relief for anxiety, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure. Use a sound machine to recreate the soothing sounds of waves crashing on the shore.

And nature of any kind is still better than nothing — so get outside and find some green. Research shows that just five minutes of outdoor activity, like walking in a park or doing a little yard work, can benefit the brain and boost mental health. While you’re at it, start brainstorming your next beach vacation. There’s something to be said for becoming a beach bum for a bit.