New study to probe the benefits of our coast

A new study based in Truro is investigating the positive effects the beach can have on both our physical and mental health.

Following previous research that has shown the natural environment can offer a number of benefits to our wellbeing, and that the coast might be most beneficial of all, this study is a taking a closer look at so called ‘blue’ environments.

Using an exercise bike and videos of Cornish beaches, researchers will be asking participants to ‘cycle through’ coastal scenes whilst monitoring their heart rate, blood pressure and mood in controlled laboratory conditions.

The study is being carried out at the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

Abi Scott, the Research Coordinator running the study, believes the research will shed light on the most beneficial ways for individuals to use the environment around them:

“We’ve all experienced the joy of the outdoors, whether through relaxing on the beach, walking the coast path or riding a bike; we take to the outdoors in a variety of ways and for many reasons. We want to know how coastal environments affect us mentally and physically, so we can make the most of any benefits that exist.”

The team were keen to use Cornwall’s outstanding coastline in the research, which features images from several of the county’s north coast beaches.

The study is taking place throughout the summer and autumn and will initially focus on young adults aged between 18 and 24. If you are interested in taking part please contact Abi Scott at [email protected].

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Alex Smalley on [email protected] or 01872 258131.

The University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013 and European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit ERDF Convergence and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

European Social Fund Division, part of the Department of Work and Pensions, is the managing authority for the European Social Fund (ESF) Convergence, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development. ESF Convergence invests in the economic regeneration of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, investing in people, their jobs and skills. For more information visit  the Department for Work and Pensions and Cornwall Works.

About the University of Exeter

The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13, the University of Exeter is a Russell Group university and in the top one percent of institutions globally. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 18,000 students and is ranked 7th in The Sunday Times University Guide, 10th in the UK in The Times Good University Guide 2012 and 10th in the Guardian University Guide. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 90% of the University’s research was rated as being at internationally recognised levels and 16 of its 31 subjects are ranked in the top 10, with 27 subjects ranked in the top 20.

The University has over 18,000 students at three campuses. The Streatham and St Luke’s campuses are in Exeter and the Cornwall Campus (known locally as the Tremough Campus) near Penryn. In an arrangement that is unique in the UK, the Cornwall Campus is owned and jointly managed as the Tremough Campus with Falmouth University. At the campus, University of Exeter students can study programmes in the following areas: Animal Behaviour, Conservation Biology and Ecology, English, Environmental Sciences, Evolutionary Biology, Geography and Zoology, Geology, History, Mathematics and the Environment, Mining and Minerals Engineering, Politics and International Studies and Renewable Energy.

The University has invested strategically to deliver more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses for 2012, including landmark new student services centres - the Forum in Exeter and The Exchange in Cornwall - and world-class new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and the Environment and Sustainability Institute.

European Centre for Environment and Human Health

European Centre for Environment and Human Health Phase 2

Thursday 1 August 2013