When my kids were young a family trip to the Montclair pool cooled tempers and soothed tantrums. My husband and I would take turns swimming laps. During these meditative swims my worries seemed to sink into the deep end and resurface bathed in perspective. When we’d go to the beach, same thing. Now research has shown that spending time in “blue spaces” can have many benefits for people's health and well-being. "Blue space" refers to environments that prominently feature water, such as oceans, lakes and rivers, and even human-made and urban water sites like swimming pools and fountains. In some studies, blue spaces were more effective at improving mood than "green spaces."
Blue Space NJ recommends local excursions to aquatic environments. We promote the intentional use of waterscapes to help improve health and well-being. Read about the proven benefits of spending time in blue space:
1. Stress Reduction Spending time in blue space has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety, providing a calming effect on the mind and body. Water has intriguing qualities that capture our attention. Waves, ripples, gentle surface tension and dramatic splashes invite us to live in the moment. Waterscapes help us move our focus away from future worries and depressive thoughts or regrets from the past.
2. Water Creates a Sense of Awe and Self-Reflection Some of the best trails lead hikers to a dramatic waterfall, or a serene lake. Waterscapes impart a sense of awe, and help us feel like we're part of something bigger than ourselves. This promotes pro-social behavior and outward thinking, and discourages ruminating self-interest. We can tap into empathy, humility and gratefulness.
3. Improved Mood The five senses have a huge impact on how we perceive the world. The natural elements associated with blue spaces, such as sunlight, fresh air and peaceful surroundings lift our spirits. Our mood improves as we observe and listen to the biodiversity around waterscapes...birds, fish, insects and plant life. Salty sea air, waves and currents may even bring up happy childhood memories.
4. Promotes Physical Activity Blue spaces offer opportunities for physical activities such as swimming, paddle boarding, sailing or simply walking along the shore, all of which can contribute to improved physical health. Research has linked time spent in blue spaces to a reduction in BMI. 5. Socialization Blue spaces provide relaxing spots for socialization, allowing people to spend quality, screen-free time with family and friends. Community and social connections have been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on mental well-being.
Copyright 2016-2019 Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC. All rights reserved. Content on this site is for informational or educational use, and should not be construed as medical or insurance advice. Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC provides general information about swimming and water safety.