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Living Near the Coast Linked to Increased Physical Activity

First Posted: Oct 10, 2014 03:49 AM EDT

People dwelling in coastal regions are more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines than inland dwellers.

A team of researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School found that living near the coast is good as it promotes health and well-being by encouraging physical activity and lowering stress, leading to an overall good health. To prove the hypothesis, they focused on participants across England and described a noticeable effect on western, not eastern, coasts of nation.

They analyzed data of 180,000 participants that was collected by Natural England. The differences in certain factors like age, social status and season was taken into consideration, none of these factors accounted for the regional differences in their finding.

The amount of exercise the participants received through leisure activities was examined. The researchers showed that visiting the coastal area rather than just living near it is important for stimulating physical activity. On breaking down the national pattern by region, they noticed that the effect existed in northwest and southwest part of the country, but not in the eastern coastal region.

 Dr Mathew White said: "It's clear that our coastal paths and beaches provide a wonderful resource for encouraging and enabling physical activity. Participants reported a number of activities from simply walking to more obvious exercise such as swimming or running. However, we're unsure why we're only seeing these effects in western regions of the country. Of course, people in the east also exercise but it doesn't seem to be so connected to coastal activities. We might have uncovered untapped potential for east coast resorts and destinations to be used to encourage exercise and promote healthy lifestyles."

Regular exercise reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression. Regular physical exercise is known to play a key role in keeping people healthy. Present guidelines recommend that each individual should receive a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

Studies conducted recently showed that those residing near coastal area are healthier than those living inland.

The study was documented in the journal Preventive Medicine.

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