Being near the water is deeply connected with improved wellbeing, whether you’re in it, on it, or just nearby.
There’s something deep and ancient about our relationship with water. As humans, we’re naturally drawn to it, even if we ultimately stay on dry land. We’re made up of water, and water features in many of our religious and cultural traditions; and of course, on a fundamental level, we need it to survive. But more than this, we like it.
We know within ourselves that we feel inexplicably better (perhaps calmer, or for some, energised) when we’ve been close to the water. We instinctively stand looking out to it – whether it’s the sea, a lake, or even a pond – content just to be near it.
There’s a reason for this. The sight and sound of water has been proven to be beneficial and even therapeutic, with exposure to “blue spaces” having an effect on mental health, wellbeing, general health, obesity, and the cardiovascular system. Being near water is a part of “outdoor wellbeing”, linked with other practices such as forest bathing.
However, water in particular is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Blue spaces are found to decrease stress and boost mood, while potentially also lowering air pollution and reducing heat.
A waterside way of life
Here in Cornwall, there’s no shortage of water – over 400 miles of coastline ribbon their way around the county’s edge. And yet there’s something very special about St Ives, with its white-sand beaches and clifftop walks, providing a view of the blue from many scenic spots.
This is something that’s formed an obvious draw for artists over decades of St Ives’ history. Marine painters including Julius Olsson, Louis Sargent and Adrian Stokes captured the raw appeal of the water in their works, and countless others have also chosen to do the same. In prompting inspiration and creative spirit, the local coastline is almost unparalleled.
Be beside the sea
Of course, one of the best and most appealing ways to be near the water is to pack a towel (or a warm jacket, if it’s winter) and set out for the beach. There’s a vast number to choose from locally, from nearby Carbis Bay to Porthmeor and Porthminster in St Ives.
If you’re keen to journey back into our connection with water, you can also try walking St Michael’s Way: a coast-to-coast route followed by ancient pilgrims. The trail takes you from nearby Lelant to the waters of St Michael’s Mount, taking in four holy wells and a river along the way.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to experience the water by being in it, you can get stuck in with a cold-water swim (reputed to be great for your health) or through one of our local watersports companies. St Ives Surf School offers paddle boarding, coasteering and kayaking, as well as surfing. Lizard Adventure, based at locations in Hayle and on the Lizard Peninsula, offers activities including SUP yoga, paddle boarding and sea kayaking.
Blue spaces at Una
As well as Cornwall’s wild blue spaces, you can also reap the benefits of being in the water through Una’s indoor facilities. Here, you’ll find a heated infinity swimming pool, with natural light pouring in from the surrounding windows. Within this peaceful space, we also have a children’s pool and Jacuzzi, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to relax, swim and let your cares float away.