Living and visiting the coast can benefit your health

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People who live near the sea have felt it for a long time, and tourists have been enjoying it for years. But scientists have only recently begun to explore the health benefits of coastal areas.

Sandra Geiger from the University of Vienna led new research with data from 15 countries.

The results confirmed a widely held belief: living near or visiting the sea promotes health, regardless of country or personal income level.

Historical perspective: Doctors once recommended the sea

The idea that proximity to the sea could improve health is not new. As early as 1660, doctors in England were recommending sea bathing and coastal walks for health reasons.

In the mid-19th century, wealthier Europeans saw ‘taking the water’ or ‘sea air’ as popular health treatments.

However, advances in medicine in the early 20th century led to a decline in these practices. Only recently have medical professionals started promoting them again.

The Study: Understanding Health Benefits in Different Nations

The study was part of a project entitled ‘Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe’ led by Professor Lora Fleming.

Geiger and her team from various universities surveyed over 15,000 participants from 14 European countries and Australia.

They asked participants’ opinions on ocean-related activities and their health.

Findings: Proximity to the coast improves everyone’s health

The results of the study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, surprised the researchers. Geiger, the lead author, found the consistent patterns across all 15 countries striking.

The study showed that living near or visiting the coast benefits everyone, not just the wealthy. Although the associations were relatively small, they could still have a significant impact on public health.

Understanding the potential health benefits of coastal access for all is crucial for policy making.

dr Paula Kellett from the European Marine Board stressed the importance of considering the significant health benefits of equitable and sustainable access to shores.

This should be taken into account when countries plan for sea space areas, future housing needs and public transport links.

What about domestic residents?

And what about those who live in landlocked areas, like Geiger and her team in Austria? Geiger mentioned that Austrians and other Central Europeans still benefit from visiting the coasts in the summer months.

In addition, they are beginning to recognize similar health benefits that freshwater bodies such as lakes and natural swimming pools offer.

If you care about wellness, please read studies about it how the Mediterranean diet can protect your brain healthAnd This plant nutrient may help lower high blood pressure.

Further information on the topic of wellness can be found in current studies Olive oil can help you live longerAnd Vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The study was published in Communication earth and environment.

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