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Brisk walking has always been advised when it comes to great health. But the thing is that being physically active not just helps your heart, but also your overall well-being. It turns out that if you are being physically active near a water body, then there are also benefits for your mental health.
According to a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and published in the journal Environmental Research, taking frequent, short walks near water bodies, like beaches, lakes, rivers, or even fountains may have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing and mood.
The study used the data of 59 adults. Over the course of one week, participants spent 20 minutes each day walking in a blue space.
In comparison to an urban environment, beach helped in uplifting people’s mood
The sound of the waves and the sight of the blue ocean can bring a smile to anyone’s face, isn’t it?
During the study, participants spent 20 minutes each day walking in an urban environment. During yet another week, they spent the same amount of time resting indoors. The blue space route was along a beach in Barcelona, while the urban route was along city streets. Before, during, and after each activity, researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate and used questionnaires to assess their well-being and mood.
“We saw a significant improvement in the participants’ well-being and mood immediately after they went for a walk in the blue space, compared with walking in an urban environment or resting,” commented Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Director of the Urban Planning, Environment, and Health Initiative at ISGlobal and coordinator of the study.
Although the study did not identify any cardiovascular health benefits.
“We assessed the immediate effects of taking a short walk along a blue space. Continuous, long-lasting exposure to these spaces might have positive effects on cardiovascular health that we were not able to observe in this study,” commented ISGlobal researcher Cristina Vert, lead author of the study.
The environment has a lot to do with your mental well-being
“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,” commented Vert.
Walking in the green spaces has also shown great health benefits in multiple studies. So, even if you haven’t got a beach nearby then a park is another great option for you.
According to ISGlobal studies have identified health benefits associated with green spaces, including a lower risk of obesity, better attention capacities in children, and slower physical decline in older adults. The new study provides evidence showing that blue spaces are an environment favourable to mental health.
“According to the United Nations, 55% of the global population now lives in cities. It is crucial to identify and enhance elements that improve our health–such as blue spaces–so that we can create healthier, more sustainable, and more liveable cities,” concluded Nieuwenhuijsen.
(With inputs from ANI)