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Leaderboard FD July August September 2023

Boating is better for you than going for a walk new study finds

by AkzoNobel 3 Sep 2022 03:11 PDT
AkzoNobel's yacht © AkzoNobel

Boating gives a bigger boost to your well-being than going for a walk, a definitive new study has found.

Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University collated his findings from 20 separate research papers on health and wellbeing.

It led the acclaimed experimental psychologist to affirm that there is a clear scientific basis to conclude that being out on the water, in what many refer to as 'the blue gym' provides profound benefits to our social, cognitive, emotional and physical well-being.

In his study, entitled Multisensory Well-being And Boating (which will be published in peer review journals) he states: "So-called blue space has even greater health and well-being benefits than green space.

"Water sounds have been shown to provide an effective foil to the stress-inducing noise of urban activities, with some suggesting that the sounds of waves remind us of the sound we first hear in the womb.

"The impact of the smells of nature and being close to water on our mental and physical well-being is tangible. Here, in particular there appears to be benefits of ocean air from being close to sea.

"Being by the beach has restorative and sleep-enhancing functions. The human immune system likely also benefits from increased exposure to biodiversity, to microorganisms in bacteria when out in nature.

"One of the simplest ways to reduce nearly 12 million working days lost every year to stress, depression or anxiety in the UK is to get out onto the water."

The difference between passively going to the sea or to a lake, versus being out on the water, was another area explored by Spence as he sought to understand the best well-being workout.

With boat sales on the rise over the last few years and recreational boating an increasingly popular activity, those lucky enough to get out on boats are the biggest beneficiaries.

Professor Spence adds: "The difference between being literally on the water rather than simply being close to it links to increasingly popular notions of 'embodied cognition': the basic idea that we think with, and through, our bodies and not just with our brains.

"Being on the water promotes bodily awareness, given that we presumably need to pay attention to maintain our balance. It encourages a kind of mindful presence in the activity involved."

He concludes: "The benefits (of being on the water) are likely both psychological as well as physiological and have been traced back to the evolutionary importance of water for human survival.

"Ultimately [there are] many physical and mental well-being benefits associated with being out on the water." AkzoNobel's yacht coatings division, which commissioned the study, seeks to empower and support boat owners to tap into That Feeling - of joy, adrenaline or calm - by getting out on the water to enjoy their boat.

Matt Anzardo, Global Yacht Segment Manager at AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings, says: "We all know 'that feeling' - the one that sums up the exhilaration and satisfaction you get from spending time on the water. The AkzoNobel team share that love for boating; it's the foundation of our research, technologies and innovations.

"As well as those sights, sounds and smells that all promote health, we know boat owners want their vessels looking and performing at their best. That's where we come in, with market-leading, innovative, sustainable and beautifully aesthetic products for all kinds of vessels."

Discover more about AkzoNobel's yacht coatings at

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