New study to probe the benefits of our coast

Posted on 29th July 2013

A new study at the Centre is investigating the positive effects the beach can have on both our physical and mental health.

Following previous research that has shown the natural environment can offer a number of benefits to our wellbeing, and that the coast might be most beneficial of all, this study is a taking a closer look at so called ‘blue’ environments.

Using an exercise bike and videos of Cornish beaches, researchers will be asking participants to ‘cycle through’ coastal scenes whilst monitoring their heart rate, blood pressure and mood in controlled laboratory conditions.

Abi Scott, the Research Coordinator running the study, believes the research will shed light on the most beneficial ways for individuals to use the environment around them:

“We’ve all experienced the joy of the outdoors, whether through relaxing on the beach, walking the coast path or riding a bike; we take to the outdoors in a variety of ways and for many reasons. We want to know how coastal environments affect us mentally and physically, so we can make the most of any benefits that exist.”

The team were keen to use Cornwall’s outstanding coastline in the research, which features images from several of the county’s north coast beaches.

The study is taking place throughout the summer and autumn and will initially focus on young adults aged between 18 and 24. If you are interested in taking part please contact Abi Scott at a.k.scott@exeter.ac.uk

Beach image courtesy of Shutterstock

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