What is it about walking by water that makes us feel good?

 

I love to walk by water.  It’s always like a deep exhalation that quickly makes me feel calm and relaxed.  And it’s not just me – there’s an increasing body of evidence to support the positive effect that spending time by water has on us.

 

We already know and accept the many health benefits of walking in green spaces such as reduced risk of obesity, increased creativity, reduced stress levels, better attention span in children and slower physical decline in older adults.  Now we have evidence that blue spaces are also an environment that support good mental health.  A recent study shows that taking short, frequent walks along blue spaces (areas that include water, such as beaches, lakes, rivers or fountains) appears to have a positive effect on people’s mental health, mood and vitality. In fact these environments have consistently been shown to lead to significantly higher benefits in increasing positive mood and reducing negative mood and stress than green space does.

 

But does it matter whether they are really blue or not?  The water I walk around is frequently more grey than blue at this time of year!  But no, obviously it doesn’t matter - water has a psychologically restorative effect, whatever the appearance on a particular day.  So let’s get out there and make the most of it.  Whether you are planning a trip to the coast once restrictions ease (I know I am) or enjoying a coffee by the river and watching the world go by, it’s all good for us.

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