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Beach Bums Get More Exercise

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 05:04 PM EDT

Living near the coast can improve your health, according to a new study.

Researchers found that that people who live near the sea are more likely to exercise than their inland counterparts.   

The study, which involved over 180,000 participants from across England, also reveals that people living on western coasts are significantly more likely than those living on eastern coasts to meet the physical activity guidelines.

Further analysis suggests that coastal dwellers are more likely to meet exercise requirements through leisure activities and getting around.

"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," lead author Dr. Mathew White said in a news release.

"Whilst not everyone can live near a beach, there are around 8 million people in England who live within 5km of the coast. Combined with over 130 million visits a year from those living further inland, it's clear that coastal locations could offer a fantastic opportunity to get more people active. Whilst plenty of questions remain unanswered, our research suggests that government policy needs to ensure these natural spaces are protected and responsibly promoted," he added.

The latest findings were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

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