Study suggests being near water is good for your health

Feeling blue? Get outside!

A new study of 26,000 people found people living closer to England's coast have better mental health than people who live away from the water.

The paper, published in the journal Health & Place, found people who live less than a kilometre from the ocean are 22 per cent less likely to report depression and anxiety, compared with people who live 30 km from the water.

"This kind of research into blue health is vital to convincing governments to protect, create and encourage the use of coastal spaces," said Dr. Mathew White, an environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter, in a statement.

"We need to help policymakers understand how to maximize 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."

The findings support previous studies that link nature exposure and positive health outcomes.

Researchers say being near the water can promote physical activity and fitness and can lower heart rate and blood pressure due to its proven calming effect.