Many people are naturally attracted to water, whether it's spending time on a beach, boating on a lake, or taking a riverside stroll. Research now shows that these activities are not only enjoyable, but also important for our health and well-being.
While the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in green spaces are already well-known, evidence has been growing for around a decade that blue spaces, such as rivers, lakes, and the sea, are also good for our health in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that people who live near blue spaces are more likely to be physically active and that regular visits to these areas can improve mental health.
Blue spaces are also good for our social health, as people tend to enjoy activities together in these environments. In addition, blue spaces can create healthier environments by cooling the temperature in cities and cleaning the air.
Doctors in the UK can now prescribe time in blue spaces for their patients as part of a "blue prescribing" program. Over several weeks, participants take part in activities such as bird-watching, canoeing, walking, and having picnics. The results have been positive, with participants reporting feeling more relaxed and less stressed.
Surf therapy is also growing in popularity around the world as a way to treat mental health problems and has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.
Have you ever met someone who lives near a blue space, such as a river, lake, or ocean?
Given the choice, would you prefer to live near a river, lake, or ocean?
Which natural environments do you find the most peaceful to be in?
What outdoor activities do you enjoy the most, and do you typically do them with friends?
What kinds of activities have you found to be the most effective at reducing your stress levels?