Coastal living could actually be better for your health, according to a new study from the United Kingdom.
University of Exeter researchers found that people who live inland were less likely to report having ratings of "good health" than people who live closer to the coast.
While the study, which included England census data of more than 48 million people who self-reported their health, only illustrated a small health benefit of living closer to the coast, researchers said that effect could still be significant on a population level.
"We know that people usually have a good time when they go to the beach, but there is strikingly little evidence of how spending time at the coast can affect health and wellbeing," study researcher Dr. Ben Wheeler said in a statement. "By analyzing data for the whole population, our research suggests that there is a positive effect, although this type of study cannot prove cause and effect."
More research is needed to extrapolate the reasons for why living by the coast seems to be linked with better health, but researchers wrote in the Health & Place study that they think "these effects may be due to opportunities for stress reduction and increased physical activity."
Earlier this year, research presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference showed that visiting the seaside trumped going to the park for boosting feelings of calm and refreshment.
"There is a lot of work on the beneficial effects of visiting natural environments, but our findings suggest it is time to move beyond a simple urban vs. rural debate and start looking at the effect that different natural environments have on people's health and well-being," the researcher of that study, Dr. Mathew White, of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, said in a statement.