Mental health is being talked about in recent times with utmost earnestness, more than it has ever been. With people leading fast-paced lives, a raging pandemic, personal and professional obligations on the regular, mental health often gets neglected. Which is why, numerous researches are conducted to offer some insight into how better can people live their lives, and what else they can do to make sure their mental health is not affected.
A recent study has found something novel. It is believed that short and frequent walks near water bodies — like beaches, lakes, rivers, oceans, or even fountains — can benefit a person mentally. The study was led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), and conducted within the BlueHealth project and published in Environmental Research — a peer-reviewed journal.
It used the data of 59 adults who, over the course of one week, spent 20 minutes each day walking near a water body. Then, they spent another week walking for 20 minutes amid urban landscapes. In a third week, they spent the same amount of time indoors. The water body was basically a stretch along the beach in Barcelona, while the urban landscape was the city’s streets. The participants’ blood pressure and heart rate was measured before and after the activity. They also answered a few questions regarding their well-being and mood.
Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Director of the Urban Planning, Environment, and Health Initiative at ISGlobal and the coordinator of the study, was quoted as saying: “We saw a significant improvement in the participants’ well-being and mood immediately after they went for a walk in the ‘blue space’, compared with walking in an urban environment or resting.”
Researchers believe that the psychological benefits of physical activities vary according to the type of environment they are carried out in, and that blue spaces are better than urban spaces.
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