Definition of a Blue Space: The importance of water for preference, effect, and restorativeness ratings for natural and built scenes.
Research has found that ‘blue space’ including sea, rivers, lakes and even urban water features can have a positive impact on wellbeing.
When people were shown images of different landscapes from wooded areas, fields, streams, lakes and ponds. Studies found that people showed a strong preference for more and more water in the images.
Looking at the effect of [aquarium] exhibits on heart rate, blood pressure and mood, early results have been quite encouraging. Even finding that people responded well just watching the water without any fish.
Researchers published a study showing that living near a lot of trees or other vegetation can actually extend a woman’s lifespan. The authors of that study cited three potential reasons green spaces and blue spaces might improve health: they provide inviting places to exercise, create opportunities to socialize, and they reduce stress.
- Mental Wellbeing
- Reducing Depression
- Blood Pressure
- Early Stages of Alzheimer’s
Sunshine – Your skin can produce a great deal of Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Necessary for the absorption of calcium, it is as important for Baby Boomers as much as it is for younger people because as we age, we are more prone to osteoporosis. Found in only a few foods, it is sometimes difficult to get enough in your daily diet. Living near water and spending a few minutes a day in the sunshine will give you a healthy dose. But don’t forget the sunscreen.
Fresh Air – Charged with healthy negative ions, absorb more oxygen, combat free radicals, and improve alertness. Negative ions also balance serotonin levels, which is a body chemical attributed to stress and mood. This is why after a day on the beach you fall into a blissful sleep and are refreshed and ready to go the next day. Imagine living in this environment every day and not just when on vacation.
Calming Sounds – Many people use sound machines to help themselves sleep so it would be natural to think that the soothing sounds of water rolling down a water fall and the call of birds can help you relax. Spas use fountains and the sounds of nature to relax their clientele. Living near water will give your home a spa effect and make your life more relaxing in your Baby Boomer years, giving you refuge from the world.
Visual Stimulation – The movement of the water, the color of the landscape and the koi as they float effortlessly through the water engages your eyes. By engaging the visual cortices, you are helping the stimulation of information processing, a potential method to affect higher order cognitive processes.
Water and the “Blue Mind” Effect – Academics have conducted compelling and practical research regarding our personal and emotional relationship with water, dubbing the result “Blue Mind”. Water tends to draw the soul and body toward it, relieving much of our daily stress. Researchers have found that green spaces in communities reduce stress and the research of Blue Mind is just beginning to tap into the benefits of living near water.
Increased Immune Function – If living near water relaxes and reduces the stress in your life, your immune function will follow suit. Stress is one of the biggest enemies of modern society and reducing your daily dose is a direct pathway to a healthier lifestyle. Living near water can help you with this and whether you are in a high stress job or just always on the run, integrating a water feature into your outdoor living space will help you live a healthier lifestyle.