Seaside living: 4 proven reasons why life is actually better on the coast

There has been a massive spike in property investments along the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) coastline the past few years, with people looking at coastal destinations for primary residences rather than just holiday homes. While the sea views are enticing, there’s actually so much more to coastal living than mere aesthetics – research shows that choosing this lifestyle can enhance your health in a number of ways.

“Coastal towns, such as those found along the KZN South Coast, were once considered primarily as holiday destinations, but we’ve noticed these towns shifting to become more established residential areas in the past decade,” explained Phil Barker, of Renishaw Property Developments on the KZN mid-South Coast, “With the easing of lockdown restrictions, more than ever, we’ve noticed people making the decision to relocate to the coast. And those who have been living here express the incredible lifestyle changes they’ve experienced, even in a short space of time.”

Here’s a look at 4 research-backed reasons the coast will boost residents’ health…

1.       Improved quality and quantity of sleep

Research conducted in 2015 by Eleanor Ratcliffe for the UK National Trust explored the effects of walking along the British coastline on changes in mood and sleep. Half the participants walked along the seaside for the duration of the study, while the others walked inland. While both experienced positive changes, coastal walkers showed ‘significantly greater increase in sleep length than inland walkers, and were more likely to show increases in sleep quality and alertness’. In fact, those at the coast increased their sleep average by 47 minutes, with positive changes found in sleep quality and overall calmness.

2.       The coast improves physical health

In a time when the importance of maintaining optimum health has been so significant, anything that improves physical health is worth investigating. In an interview with British-based Coast magazine, environmental psychologist Dr Lewis Elliott explained the tangible benefits of breathing in fresh sea air. Forming part of the team at the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment & Human Health, Dr Elliott’s studies focus on how the natural environment, and the coast in particular, impact feelings and behaviour. His studies have indicated that, people rate their health better the closer they are to the coast.

He explained: “My interpretation is that there are more opportunities for physical activity and stress reduction by the coast that don’t exist inland. We know that when people go to the beach, there are opportunities to be physically active and people are more likely to stay there for longer. Physical activity has a strong effect on mental health, and when combined with being in a natural, coastal environment, these effects become even stronger.”

3.       The coast improves mental health

Physical wellbeing is strongly associated with mental wellbeing, as has also been evidenced by the research undertaken by Dr Elliott and his team. They found that, over time, people living by the coast were healthier and experienced lower mental distress than those inland.

“The coast provides opportunities for experiences that strengthen social support networks and lead to better mental health,” said Dr Elliott, whose studies looked at environmental factors such as air quality and Vitamin D absorption, which is a vital contributor to improved mood. “If you use up a lot of cognitive resources in your daily life, being in natural places away from busier, urban environments can replenish these resources.”

The strong emotional associations many have with the ocean, such as childhood activities, time spent with family, holidays and recreation, will also enhance mood levels. By residing on the coast full-time, people are effectively able to live the holiday life every day.

4.       The coast helps the healing process

In a 1999 study conducted by Germany’s University of Freiburg, it was found that the combination of sea water and UVB radiation can actually improve skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis. Ocean water, which has a high concentration of minerals including sodium, chloride, sulphate, magnesium and calcium, is understood to have antiseptic and rehydrating properties.

When it comes to coastal living, Renishaw Hills is an ideal investment. This mature lifestyle estate, located on the stunning mid-South Coast of KZN, offers state-of-the-art security, a bustling events calendar, award-winning homes and world-class facilities. At Renishaw Hills, every day feels like a holiday.

To find out more about living the holiday life, or to book a tour with all relevant health-and-safety measures adhered to, contact Renishaw Hills on info@renishawhills.co.za or visit www.renishawhills.co.za