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
    0

    Comment number 112.

    87.
    Louis from Surrey

    It's the negative ions that are abundant near coastlines, not the other ones.

    I only hoped these guys would have investigated more then just making the top of holiday preferences and then wonder why is like that... Of course it's nice to talk about the beauty of the sea, but we would expect from them a little more.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 111.

    Well it depends what one means by "sea-side". Blackpool or Porthcurno ? Having a few Northerners as distant neighbours I live not too far from one of these beaches - and it aint Blackpool. Says it all really. Oh and we've solved PastyGate. If they've just come out of the oven and you don't want 'em reheated we wont charge VAT. Its our Cornish logic me 'ansome.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 110.

    Any been to Scarborough in January? You certainly won't be wanting an ice cream on the beach.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 109.

    I live overlooking the sea and it is like being on holiday 24/7. However, the smell of a dank autumn wood or the skylark on the summer open hilltops are now what I enjoy in a day out. Grass is always greener I know and so how fortunate we are that we can make such choices. UK is the best and then to add colour and texture to our homeland we have our seasons.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 108.

    Ironic that this survey should come out at the time when our incompetent govt are about to ruin the lives of thousands who rely on coastal tourism by imposing VAT on static caravans!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 107.

    We're an Island race. Even when going abroad on holiday, we like to be by the sea - hence the popularity of the Costa Del Sol, Canary Islands, Florida, etc. Nowhere in the British Isles is the sea more than 60 miles away. We retired to a place 7 miles from the sea, (couldn't afford to live right on the coast) - just wanted to be as near as possible, 10 minutes to the nearest beach is fine.

  • Comment number 106.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 105.

    100.
    nomeansno

    can i apply for a research grant from public money please, id like to proove , beyond a shadow of doubt , that people like to eat chocolate.... thank you.

    //////

    Yes, apply at the University of the Blxxdy Obvious. It's next door to the University of Media Studies.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 104.

    101.
    Killer Boots Man

    I've lived right on the coast my whole life and you can keep it! Cold, wet, windy, overcast, foggy horrible place to live. Most who enjoy the beach only visit on a sunny day then go back inland.
    We have family about 10 miles inland and the temperature difference is astounding. It was 28 degrees there one day last Summer and 12 degrees when we came home.

    /////

    Skegness? lol

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 103.

    Yes it would be nice to live or go to the seaside more often...but unlike some of the privilaged that are posting on here telling us all of their idyllic existence by the sea, I have to work to keep my wife and kids with a roof other their heads in a bland housing estate paying my taxes to keep the rich and lazy in the style that they have become accustomed to.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 102.

    I've lived by the sea in Brighton for several years now and love it. But it's only a great town if you have a job and a decent place to stay. The dozens of substance misusers and depressed people who come here every year thinking their life will improve markedly are misguided and often very disappointed.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 101.

    I've lived right on the coast my whole life and you can keep it! Cold, wet, windy, overcast, foggy horrible place to live. Most who enjoy the beach only visit on a sunny day then go back inland.

    We have family about 10 miles inland and the temperature difference is astounding. It was 28 degrees there one day last Summer and 12 degrees when we came home. We haven't had a Summer for 3 years here!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 100.

    can i apply for a research grant from public money please, id like to proove , beyond a shadow of doubt , that people like to eat chocolate.... thank you.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 99.

    Talk about stating the obvious..............

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 98.

    Depends what you mean by seaside. Skegness NO, St.Ives YES.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 97.

    Just a thought, Any link with our Primeval Beginnings? An unconcious return to our roots. Over to you BPS.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 96.

    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.

    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.

    ----94 postings in 4 hours rather speaks for itself mate!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 95.

    People tend to assume you have to visit a beach in the summer to enjoy, however you can't beat a bright winter day with a kite & a flask of something. Bracing!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 94.

    The emotion I felt as a child when told we were going to the seaside was pure happiness, elation and excitement! I suspect for children now it still is.
    So get them off the play stations and take them to the sea side!!
    It will do you all good no matter what the weather,

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 93.

    Why delete my post - I was just highlighting that Brighton had a big drugs problem. What's wrong with that?

    Go on delete this one as well then.

 

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