We all like to be beside the water. Here are Stylist’s top places to relax and revitalise.
We’ve all experienced the calming feeling of lying on â¨a beach and listening to the sound of waves gently lapping the shore. We’ve been entranced by the meditative effect of gazing out at still waters. And let’s not forget the physical and emotional highs we’ve felt after a balmy (or bracing) dip, or a jaunt along a waterway. So it’s not surprising it’s been scientifically proven that being in or near water, otherwise known as ‘blue space’, has numerous health benefits.
“In our fast, stressful and distracting modern world being near, in, on or under water gives our bodies and minds a breakâ¨ and helps us avoid burnout,” says Wallace J Nichols, marine biologist and author. “That feeling is called ‘blue mind’. Stress hormonesâ¨ drop, feel-good neurochemicals increase, breathing and heart rate slows, conversations deepen and we slip into a more mindful mode.”
Historically, water has played a key role in our survival: civilisations flourished thanks to their proximity to it. The Egyptians and Israelites bathed in the sacred waters of the Nile and Jordan rivers; Belgians favoured a cold spring and Romans a hot bath; the Victorians advocated the health benefits of salt water.
More recently, research has continued to highlight the positive lure of all places blue. A recently published journal on coastal tourism revealed that people were willing to pay up to 57% more for a sea-view room, depending on how good it was and accessibility to the beach. And the EU initiated BlueHealth 2020, a four-year research project to examine the effects of being in or near water on the body and mind.
Tempted to test the waters? Here’s where and how to immerse yourself in the good stuff this year.
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