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Blue Health - The Health Benefits Of The Sea

There’s something about the coast. So many of us will have fond childhood memories of great times spent there, with the sun shining and a light breeze. But what is it about being around the sea that makes us feel so good - and what if it was more than just feeling good? Could spending time around the sea actually make us healthier?

The idea that being around the sea has positive health properties is known as Blue Health. It seems to be common sense that being in nature has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. This idea is usually centred around being in green spaces: like national parks, and forests. In recent years though, researchers have found people receive similar benefits from the sea. 

In fact, one research study concluded that when overall health (i.e non-smoker, BMI, and so on) were comparable, people who lived less than 0.6 miles from the sea were 22% less likely to have symptoms of a mental health disorder when compared to those living 31 miles away from the coast! So why is this? 

There are the 3 main factors why being around the sea makes you healthier! 


Environmental

Have you ever taken a trip to the coast and felt like you could breathe better? That's not just in your head! Coastal areas and aquatic environments tend to have a lot less pollution and cleaner air. Due to the empty space too, you'll likely get more sunlight, which is critically important, especially for getting in Vitamin D3. Did you know that it’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people in the UK are deficient in D3? It’s no wonder that being on the coast will make you feel better, then. 


Behavioural

Studies have shown that people who live closer to the coast are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than those who live further away from it. 


For some reason, the coast seems to do a great job of encouraging physical activity. While there’s no conclusive reason for this, it might be as simple as the coast being more appealing! It seems reasonable to think that someone might want to go for a walk on the shorefront, but not in a city centre. It’s also likely that the coast is more likely to attract active people in the first place.


Psychological 

There's something inherently relaxing about the ocean. Listening to the sound of waves hitting the shore is often used to treat people with insomnia. One 2016 study concluded that living by the sea is actually more calming than being in green spaces! The idea is that the sea provides a sense of space and openness that nothing else can. 


Protecting the coast 

Clearly, there’s something truly special about our shore fronts. That’s why we’re so passionate about protecting them - by taking care of our coastlines, they take care of us. To help protect the sea, we donate 3% of sales to charities and non-profit organisations that share our values and passion for protecting the planet. One of these organisations is Project Seagrass, a marine conservation charity dedicated to ensuring that seagrass meadows are protected globally


Seagrass is crucially important for carbon sequestration: it accounts for 10 per cent of the ocean's capacity to store carbon, despite only occupying 0.2% of the seafloor. So the next time you treat yourself to a can of Feel Good, you’ll know that you’re helping to protect the coast. 

 

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

Joanne K. Garrett, Theodore J. Clitherow, Mathew P. White, Benedict W. Wheeler, Lora E. Fleming, Coastal proximity and mental health among urban adults in England: The moderating effect of household income,Health & Place, Volume 59, 2019,

 

University of Exeter. "Coastal living boosts physical activity, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/14100910093>

 

Daniel Nutsford, Amber L. Pearson, Simon Kingham, Femke Reitsma,

Residential exposure to visible blue space (but not green space) associated with lower psychological distress in a capital city, Health & Place, Volume 39,2016, Pages 70-78,

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