We all want a calm and healthy life, but are we taking enough steps to keep it that way? Most of us don’t even think about health and its wellbeing until we fall sick. Now, you don’t even need to take more efforts to maintain a healthy life. A recent study shows that staying close a water body such as a lake, river, ocean among others can help to relax your muscle and ease stress.
Michael Depledge, head of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School said that there is a direct relationship among water body, health outcomes, and better psychological health.
From the last decade, Depledge has been engaged in studying so-called ‘blue environment’ and has contributed significantly to the projects that have gained the attention of the European Union (EU) and the U.K governments.
It has been observed that staying near the water body can reduce the occurrence and prevalence of various lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes to some extent. Additionally, it slows down heartbeat rate and reduces the production of the stress hormone, thus, improve our mental health dramatically. WHO has estimated that depression to take its toll and emerge as the largest contributor after cardiovascular diseases by 2030.
What do you need? Just spend more time with green
The research also showed that spending time with green is directly proportional to the health––more you spend time with green, more you feel better. In another research, it was found that people reacted better to pictures having green with water bodies in it when shown pictures of the river, mountain, canal, and cities. They usually got attracted to greenery, environment, and water landscape. More water is linked to more likes and preferences.
In their next study, Depledge and his associates used data from a government-operated organization, annual health survey England, in order to see if there is any link between health and water bodies. To their observation, it was found that coastal resident reported better health than others living far from the sea.
“Self-reported health is a well-recognized, useful measure,” that correlates closely with actual health, Depledge said. After all, if you’re feeling unwell, you probably are – and vice versa.
Depledge said, the health difference between people living in coastal areas and inland communities is sharper for low earning individuals, most likely due to wealthy people live less stressful life and take regular beach vacations.
So far, Depledge and his researchers have collected data from some 48-million participant that showed a strong relationship between well-being and living near the water.
What is better the sea or lake?
Well, when it comes to health, scientists are not sure what is more beneficial until they understand the causes of a calm and healthy life. They are not able to answer whether the air, the sound or the sight of the water—or a combination of all three—that is responsible for reducing our stress level when we go by the beach, Depledge said. He also added that they are comparing England coast with Florida to see if both are equally healthy.
A study conducted in the U.K has shown that chemicals released by microbes and marine life can reduce or minimize allergic responses such as asthma and allergies. However, harmful algal bloom in Florida can trigger the allergic and asthma symptoms and can worsen it.
Yet, incorporating small ponds and lakes in cities and parks will help to cool the temperature, attract more people to park as well as reduce stress to some extent. Thus, spending time near water is one of the best feelings you can get.