Making room for blue space
Humans seem to have an innate attraction to aquatic environments. Real estate by coasts or rivers costs more (particularly if it has a view of the water), coastal resorts are generally the most popular, and countless millions are spent on water-based recreation every year.
This love of water makes obvious sense from a biological standpoint. We need fresh water to stay alive and oceans provide plenty of palatable opportunities for a feed. But the benefits of the life aquatic stretch beyond just satisfying thirst and hunger. Here are some additional reasons to make room for blue space in your life.
Blue spaces are therapeutic. They can reduce sensory overload and have a calming effect on our often overstimulated minds. This can be particularly true for those of us living in urban environments where exposure to water bodies can reduce stress and improve mood.
A study in Wellington, New Zealand, found that residents with a view of the ocean were far less likely to experience ongoing psychological distress then those without such views. As cities continue to develop and populations rise, findings like this have important implications for how we manage the stress of urban life into the future.
Blue spaces promote fitness. It probably comes as no surprise that people who live closer to the coast tend to lead more active lifestyles. Many of us enjoy beaches for running, walking, swimming, and all manner of fitness activities.
In England, a study of more than 180,000 residents found that the closer people live to the coast the more likely they are to meet recommended weekly activity levels.
Blue spaces encourage community. In particular, aquatic environments and their surroundings are ideal places to share experiences with friends and family – in fact, according to one study it’s one of the primary benefits people say they get from their time in blue space.
Beyond one’s circle of close friends and family, blue spaces offer natural gathering places for people in a community to interact and indulge the social animal within us all.