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Why a Beach Vacation is Good For Your Health, According to Science

Sorry, but a hotel staycation doesn't have the same effect.
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Not all vacations are created equal. If a study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University and New Zealand's University of Canterbury is any indication, beach getaways are far superior—as far as potential health benefits go, anyway.

Using data from the Wellington, New Zealand, area, researchers grouped people according to whether or not they could see the ocean from their home, and compared that information with findings from the national health database. They found that residents within eyesight of "blue space" (ocean views), appeared to "suffer much less" from psychological distress.


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Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

Even after adjusting for factors like income level, age, crime rate, and housing quality, researchers still found that looking out over the water has a significant calming effect. They also found that "green space" views (of fields, parks, and forests) didn't have the same benefits to one's mental well-being. (Additional research is needed to determine if views of fresh water like lakes are as equally calming.)

The jury's still out on how long it takes for ocean views to work their soothing magic, but researchers haven't ruled out the benefits of temporary blue sightings like those enjoyed on vacation. "We do not know yet how long it takes to be 'exposed.' In other words, one may receive the mental health benefits immediately when looking at blue spaces," study author Amber Pearson told Lonely Planet. Pearson theorized that looking out over the sea promotes mental relaxation by reducing sensory stimuli; it's easier for the brain to process natural backdrops. "Surely mental relaxation is part of the purpose of travel and holidays," she added.

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Departure from Bermuda's L.F. Wade International Airport

Looking for a unique seaside vacation that won't break the bank? Bermuda's tinted beaches get their hue from the shells of tiny marine organisms, red foraminifera, that live on coral reef ledges. When these organisms die, their shells sink to the ocean floor and get washed ashore where they mix with white sand, creating a pink affect. Some of the best spots to see this natural phenomenon include Horseshoe Bay in Southampton (a favorite among cruise passengers), Warwick Long Bay Beach in Warwick Parish, and the newly opened hotel Loren at Pink Beach in St. George's Parish.


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A pink sand cove just west of Horseshoe Bay

On the opposite side of the island from Horseshoe Bay is St. George's, the oldest continually inhabited English settlement in the Western Hemisphere. It was built in 1612 by the English Virginia Company—the same people who established Jamestown, Virginia. The town often draws comparisons to Charleston, South Carolina, thanks to its cobblestoned streets, historic churches and inns, and brightly colored abodes. The oldest Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere, St. Peter's, is located there.


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St. George's Parish

Beyond its convenient proximity to the States, gorgeous beaches, charming architecture, and historic towns, Bermuda, roughly 885 miles east of Charleston, is also an enticing alternative to the Caribbean because of something it doesn't have: Zika virus. Expectant couples can have peace of mind babymooning there. What more could you want from a vacation that's scientifically proven to leave you feeling mentally refreshed?

From: Country Living

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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