For the Georgians and Victorians there was nothing better for physical, mental and even moral well-being than a dose of bracing sea air and salt water bathing.
Jane Austen wrote: “The sea air and sea bathing together were nearly infallible, one or the other of them being a match for every disorder of the stomach, the lungs or the blood. They were anti-spasmodic, anti-pulmonary, anti-septic, anti-bilious and anti-rheumatic.”
In modern times we might not see the sea as quite such a perfect cure-all but various studies have confirmed that living in a seaside location can bring overall health benefits. If you want to take advantage, take a look at the new homes in Cornwall for an idea of the sort of properties that might be available today.
Using data from Natural England with an anonymous self-reported health information by postcode – a team from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) found that living by the coast really could have a positive bearing on your health.
They commented on the report, saying: “Self-reported health correlates very well with real health. For the first time, we have had this information according to postcode, and we found that the closer you live to the English coast the healthier you are. There was some evidence that other aquatic environments helped too.”
Another study looked at stress levels when test subjects were presented with a number of different landscapes. It found that stress tended to decrease the more water was present in the scenery.
The very sound of the sea can be relaxing as it can change wave patterns in the brain, allowing and encouraging a more relaxed state.
Bracing British sea air is also thought to help us achieve a good night’s sleep. There is also the fact that by simply living by the sea could promote a more active lifestyle – a walk along the beach is usually more pleasant than a stroll through an urban environment. Scientists are still puzzling over exactly why the seaside is good for us but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it is.