For many people, a walk on the beach is one of the “must-do’s” when spending time in a vacation rental on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Turns out, beach walks are more than just fun.
Science has proven the theory that beach vacations that include walks on the beach are healthy.
A recent study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health shows that short, frequent walks in blue spaces-or spaces that prominently feature water, such as beaches, lakes, rivers or fountains—may have a positive effect on people’s well-being and mood.
The study, recently published in Environmental Research, calculated data on 59 adults who, over the course of one week, spent 20 minutes each day walking in a blue space.
In a different week, they spent 20 minutes each day walking in an urban environment, while in another week they spent the same amount of time resting indoors.
Before, during and after each activity, researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate and used questionnaires to assess their well-being and mood.
“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,” said the study’s coordinator, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, who is also director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at the Institute for Global Health.
Specifically, he said, after taking a short walk on the beach, participants reported improvements in their mood, vitality and mental health.
Cristina Vert, lead author of the study, said the results show that the psychological benefits of physical activity vary according to the type of environment where it is carried out and that blue spaces are better than urban spaces in this regard.
About 55 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, so the benefits of blue spaces are likely integral to happiness throughout the world.
So, no matter how long you are able to stay, get out of the city, leave work behind for a little while, and book a vacation rental at the beach. Then, get everyone out for a walk on the beach. It will just make everyone feel better!
Here are five tips for making the most of your next beach vacation.
Bring the entire family together for a reunion at the beach and stay in a beach house with five or more bedrooms. But, book soon, because these gems can book as far out as one to two years in advance.