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A Short Walk on the Beach Can Improve Your Mental Health, Study Suggests

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 7/13/2020 Andrea Romano
a man holding a dog in a body of water: As if you needed another excuse to get to the beach. © Westend61/Getty Images As if you needed another excuse to get to the beach.

Now there’s an even better excuse to get some sand between your toes.

Researchers and psychologists have been saying that getting into nature every day is a great way to boost your mood, and that includes a nice walk on the beach. A new study from researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has found that even a short walk on the beach can benefit your overall mental health and fight depression, Metro reported.

It has been previously reported that these so-called “blue spaces” are sometimes the key to a higher quality of life, noting that many people who live near a coast are actually happier. So, it comes as no surprise that taking a long walk on the beach is more than just a dating profile cliché, it’s actually a good way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

According to Metro, the researchers studied 60 people before, during, and after spending 20 minutes a day in different environments. The study itself ran over the course of three weeks, with participants spending time walking on the beach during the first week, walking on city streets during the second, and resting indoors during the third.

The researchers measured participants’ blood pressure and heart rate alongside a series of questions about their overall mood. Walks on the beach didn’t yield major heart benefits, but the participants did note that they had a better mood overall, according to Metro.

The team also noted that their study was a fairly small, contained sample that would warrant further study. “Our results show that the psychological benefits of physical activity vary according to the type of environment where it is carried out, and that blue spaces are better than urban spaces in this regard,” said research coordinator Dr. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen in a statement to Metro. “Specifically, after taking a short walk on the beach in Barcelona, participants reported improvements in their mood, vitality and mental health.”

According to Metro, about 55 percent of the world’s population now live in cities, so the benefits of blue spaces might be integral to overall well being of people across the globe.

If you can, taking a walk on the beach could be a good way to naturally help your mental health, especially during times of uncertainty. Of course, if you do decide to go out with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic happening, it’s best to observe proper social distancing and to wear a mask.


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