Using our coast to improve your health and wellbeing in 2023

As the new year arrives, it’s common for people to resolve to make positive changes to their lives. These new year resolutions often involve commitments to improving individual health and wellbeing and living next to the sea gives us a unique opportunity to do this.

Studies have shown that simply spending time outside in nature beside water will improve your mood and mental wellbeing. A team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) examined 35 scientific studies and found that time spent in blue spaces (next to rivers or the sea) had a positive effect on mental health, particularly on stress reduction and perceived wellbeing. Mireia Gascon, a researcher on this study, stated that findings suggest that time spent “outdoor blue spaces have potential benefits for health, particularly in terms of mental health, general wellbeing and physical activity…A greater exposure to blue spaces correlates with improved mental health, wellbeing and more physical activity.” Similarly, in 2019 a study by Exeter University showed that those living near England’s coastline had a higher level of positive mental health, than those living inland away from the coast.

Making a commitment to spend more time outside beside the sea is a simple, inexpensive, and effective method to improve your wellbeing and mood in 2023. Here are some activities you could try:

•Sea swimming (never do this alone, we would recommend that you join an established group who know local tides and conditions, and how to sea swim safely)
• Take up a water-related hobby, there are plenty of options along our coast, including kayaking, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, SCUBA diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing. Check out our events page and Facebook for opportunities to try some water sports with the BlueScapes project.
• Protect the waters; check out our events page and Facebook and join Louise and her team of volunteers for a beach clean.
• Spend time by water, this is as easy as going to the beach for a walk or a picnic.

See you on the beach or in the water in 2023!

Want to dive deeper?
Follow this link to read the research article published by the ISGlobal team:

Follow this link to listen to Dr Matthew White and Dr Jo Garrett talk to the BBC radio programme All in The Mind About BlueHealth:

If you’re thinking of trying new activities at the beach, learn about the impact that beach cleaning, scuba diving and surfing had on three individuals here:

Read Dr. Wallace J. Nichols book Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do