Studies Show That Walking By The Water Is Better For Your Mental Health

A stroll by the water is better for your mental health than one on a city street, according to a Spanish study.

The Global Health Institute in Barcelona, Spain, assessed the mood and well-being of 59 healthy adults who experienced walking by the sea, on the street and in indoor resting places. They were asked to spend 20 minutes a day on the beach in Barcelona for the first week, the same amount of time on the city streets for the second week, and the same amount of time indoors for the third week. In addition to measuring participants’ blood pressure and heart rate before, during and after their walk or rest, researchers also assessed their mood and well-being through questionnaires.


Writing in the latest issue of the Quarterly journal of Environmental Research, the researchers found a ‘rapid and significant improvement’ in mood and well-being after a walk in the blue space compared with a walk on a city street or a break indoors. In the study, participants reported improved mood, energy and mental health after walking by the beach. In addition, sympathetic nervous system activity increased during and after seaside and city street walks.

In the study, blue space was defined as the space near a beach, a lake, or a fountain.

However, the results did not show a difference in heart health between seaside walks and city street walks. Lead author Christina Belt said the study assessed the “immediate effects” of short walks in blue space, but that the study was not able to address the “possible positive heart health effects of continuous, long-term exposure to blue space.”