People really do like to be beside the seaside, study says

 
Seaside bench Researchers discovered people of all age groups found the seaside more refreshing than the country

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The songs and postcards appear to be right - a study suggests we really do like to be beside the seaside.

The study of 2,750 people presented to the British Psychological Society examined the effects of different types of outdoor environments on people.

Researchers found the bracing seaside air had a more positive effect than the countryside or an urban park.

Researcher Mathew White said it could reflect an "innate preference" for the sights and sounds of water.

The study examined how different types of outdoor environments could generate different reactions from people in terms of encouraging a sense of relaxation and calm.

Seaside rocks

This found that being beside the coast was significantly more likely to create a feeling of well-being.

The research, from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, is being presented to the annual conference of the British Psychological Society.

The centre is part of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, set up by the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth.

The study, by Katherine Ashbullby and Mathew White, looked at responses from 2,750 people in England over two years, comparing their experiences of the seaside, countryside and urban parks.

While all of these could be refreshing, the greatest sense of pleasure came from exercising beside the sea - regardless of factors such as age, where they lived and who they were with when they were visiting.

The study found that in six different age groups the seaside was always identified as being a more positive experience than other inland parks or country walks.

This preference for the coast was found both in the general population and among walkers.

Those who were travelling alone were particularly likely to get more enjoyment from the coast.

There are no clear conclusions about why being beside the seaside should be more refreshing than other types of settings.

But the researchers are considering a range of possible associations.

This includes testing the idea that people respond positively to the way light plays on the water, or the sounds of the sea.

There could also be social or cultural expectations about the benefits of the seaside, suggest the researchers.

Or else there could be individual associations, such as happy childhood memories.

The researchers say that there has been a growing awareness of the importance of relaxation in preventing ill health - but there is not enough known about how this is experienced.

"There is a lot of work on the beneficial effects of visiting natural environments, but our findings suggest it is time to move beyond a simple urban versus rural debate and start looking at the effect that different natural environments have on people's health and well-being," said Dr White.

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 92.

    I love going to the beach - not the sandy sort beloved of holiday brochures, but a bracing, uncrowded British beach with rock pools and shellfish. When I lived inland, there was nothing I enjoyed better than a day out to the coast. Now I'm lucky enough to live near the coast, and I still don't tire of the beach - I'm there every week.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 91.

    Those of us brought up by the sea are extremely lucky, and in my case it is in my blood.

    I find all forms of water relax me, even lakes are always in a state of flux. The sound of water lapping on the shore....just relaxing at the thought of it.......

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 90.

    "The study examined how different types of outdoor environments .......
    in terms of encouraging a sense of relaxation and calm."

    I'm surprised that the study appears not to have included the pulse raising awe that comes with watching the sea rage during a great storm. Certainly not a relaxing experience, but equally theraputic.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 89.

    Have lived here in the Western Isles of Scotland for many years now and just yards from the shore there is absolutely nothing to beat it. The view is wonderful, and that's the only problem as I could look at it all day and do nothing else.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    Even the sound of Seagull calls inland gives me a lift. But I know not all people like them.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 87.

    This is an interesting article. Besides the more obvious reasons why people enjoy the seaside more, like the sound of the waves, the soft sand, and being able to gaze far into the distance, I wonder if there is also a scientific reason. I once read somewhere that the motion of the waves creates positive ions in the atmosphere around the coast.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 86.

    Is it also a coincidence that you have to be fairly wealthy to live near the sea these days? House prices are normally 20-30% above that of urban areas and consumables are usually anything between 5-10% above national average.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 85.

    72.m59e

    How very British of the BBC.

    Syrian mass-murders, Norwegian mass-murders, Qatada's human rights, Men at Work flautist dies - and we get to comment on the British seaside experience.

    Quaint.

    Wow,your moaning about the negativity in the world and when the BBC tries to make a story out of something positive,you moan. If want to be Boorish and bland,go to the Daily Mail site.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 84.

    62.Huxley-Orwell
    I just love the way how experts get paid to work out what everyone else knows as common sense.

    If someone gives me a million pound grant, I promise to go away and study whether drinking water is necessary for survival.

    Good idea. For a similar sum, plus expenses, I'm prepared to study the theory that, if water is drunk for long enough, it will lead to death.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 83.

    I live in Newquay and I find the sea very calming...its really busy though in summer and everything is really expensive.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 82.

    I grew up by the sea (Dublin), and always had a feeling that I had something of a 'datum point' with the coast close by. When I lived in inland places (Hertfordshire & Minnesota), and didn't visit the coast for long periods, I developed a nagging feeling that the land stretched out in all directions and that I was somehow lost in a "sea of land". Hard to explain, but living by a coast cured it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 81.

    There is much to be enjoyed wherever you are. I lived by the sea and still enjoy the smell of seaweed, the sound of Gulls and the sound of water breaking on the beach. I now live in the country and enjoy the smell of the country, still the sound of Gulls - the sound of water; well I have to make do when I visit the sea.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 80.

    I grew up in Brighton, and over 12 years ago I had to move to London, then Edinburgh &Leeds for work and now back in London. I still cant get used to not being by the sea, I've never been as happy in my surroundings as I was back in Brighton, and I cannot wait until I can move back home. I miss the smell, the sounds and the way of life.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    Seaside or countryside, both are great and beats urban living any day.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 78.

    I can vouch for the fact that the wind at Skegness, which advertised itself under the catchphrase "It's so bracing", certainly blows the cobwebs away. I've seldom walked at that angle while sober before.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 77.

    I love the sea & could happily mess about all day on a beach. My ex hates any sort of seaside with a passion. So looking forward to being able to take the children for a paddle, build sandcastles with them & search rock pools - without his constant whining.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 76.

    As a city boy who moved to the coast a few years ago, I think childhood memories are just part of the attraction. Sure, there's the ice cream and holiday feeling. But deeper than that, there is a rhythm that soothes the soul, scintillating light on the waves, the scent of the ocean that is somehow timeless, and anticipation of being on the edge of a voyage. In my case literally - I live in Dover.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 75.

    No doubt! It's the best place to be:)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 74.

    The most striking thing for me about the seaside is the way that everything stops as soon as the sea starts. Most people travel around and all they see is more land, houses, businesses, roads, etc. All man-made stuff. But when you hit the sea-front, there's absolutely nothing but nature, a vast ocean of water that makes you feel vulnerable. It really puts life into perspective.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 73.

    36.Ivor Biggun
    Looks like their must be nothing of real news going on in the World Today, or the Jounos at the BBC are down the Wood Lane pub.

    Sometimes it is nice to be able to comment on the lighter side of life. If you don't like this subject go find another one. I think it is great to be by the seaside, especially if you are on holiday but it is also great to be in our lovely countryside.

 

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