Spending time in coastal areas has a ‘therapeutic effect’ and can improve your health and wellbeing.
That’s the conclusion of a new study published by the UK government together with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Exeter University.
The study compared visits to the coast with visits to other types of environment. It showed that British people who spent time by the sea reported increased happiness. They also had better general health and were more active during their visit.
Millions of people visit coastal areas in the UK and Europe every year.
Healthy seas and clean beaches are an essential source of income for coastal economies but visitors can also bring additional pressure to communities with limited resources.
The British report also highlighted the importance of marine conservation work. It showed that areas with designated or protected status, and those with higher levels of biodiversity, helped people relax more.
Professor Nicola Beaumont, Head of Science for Sea and Society at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said:
“Our research demonstrates that marine and coastal areas play an important role in supporting people’s well-being. However, we have also shown that these benefits are threatened by marine pollution, coastal development, climate change and exposure to extreme weather.”
Local governments play a crucial role in finding and implementing solutions the challenges faced by coastal communities.