Every winter, as migratory birds arrive in droves at different jheels and lakes in West Bengal, Rajat takes out his camera and other paraphernalia to take photographs. He visits Santragachi Jheel, Rabindra Sarovar, and of course, Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary whenever there is a holiday from his high-pressure software developer job.
Although the winged visitors were few and far between in Rabindra Sarovar a few years ago, they returned with a vengeance last winter after the lake was cleaned up and beautified.
Being a resident of South Kolkata, Rajat likes to visit Rabindra Sarovar for his other interests besides birdwatching. The chirping of birds and the cool breeze have a calming effect on his mind. Sitting beside the lake till the sun sets and darkness prevails, and the urban sounds overcome the stillness of the evening, Rajat enjoys his flights of fancy.
Then there is Sumitra, Rajat’s girlfriend from his college days. Often, they sit down together at Rabindra Sarovar, without words, just feeling each other’s presence, and look at the reflection of the sky on the lake, and its changing colours. At other times, they just take a stroll there.
The lake and its surroundings have become a part of their existence for a long time. They have decided that when they marry and settle down, they must buy a flat with a large waterbody in a residential complex. Of course, they would visit Rabindra Sarovar as much as possible, but having a waterbody in their backyard would give them the pleasure of relaxation like nothing else.
If you go into the pros and cons of living in a house near waterbody, you will find interesting facts backed by science. Let’s discuss some of the benefits of living near water, and some of them will surely surprise you.
Benefits of Urban Blue Space Backed by Science
We all instinctively know how the presence of a waterbody relaxes the mind, how even the sound of flowing water is almost like meditation. Now science actually confirmed the extensive beneficial effect of urban blue spaces on us.
The immediate environment in which you live can drive your mood, affect your behaviour, alter your decision-making processes, influence your stress levels, and much more! It can also help with your physical health or hurt it.
A study was conducted in New Zealand, where researchers found that access to ‘blue space’ was even more assistive for the psychological health of residents in urban areas than green space.
This study looked at older adults in Hong Kong who frequented blue spaces like coastlines, harbours and beaches. Respondents who were in these surroundings more often reported better well-being and a lower risk of depression. The study also found that respondents who lived within a 10-15 minute walk from blue spaces were more likely to derive the benefits.
A German study found that urban dwellers were able to achieve calm and serenity by being close to man-made water features, like ponds, pools or water fountains in a city setting.
The connection of mental (and physical) with living close to blue spaces is well established. Let us now delve a little deeper and know how they specifically boost our health.
Breathing Fresh Air
When air is exposed to a considerable amount of water nearby, it helps your body to absorb more oxygen as negative ions are charged properly. It also increases alertness in the body by increasing serotonin levels and improves mood while cutting down stress. You must have also noticed that your body demands fresh air whenever your hormone levels fluctuate and go down.
Improved Immune System
Boosting our immune system is one of our top priorities currently. Waterbodies help us to do just that.
When your body is relaxed living beside the water body, your immune system gets strengthened automatically.
In fact, waterbodies along with the plant and trees around them increase white blood cells in our blood and they help us to fight diseases.
Deeper and More Peaceful Sleep
Have you ever listened to the calming music of flowing water before sleep and woke up far more rested and relaxed the next morning? The sound of running water has that effect on your sleep.
Not only the sound but seeing the water body can clear all the unwanted thoughts and other distractions which disrupt the sleep process. Expose yourself to the water body every day and notice the beautiful changes within.
Waterbodies do not only relax your mind but they become centres of leisure activities around them. You do not need to indulge in a vigorous bout of swimming, even some light yoga, moderate freehand exercise, or walking can help you to enhance your lifespan.
Scientific studies have found that leisure activities increase lifespan, apart from helping you to live a disease-free life.
Disadvantages of Living near a Waterbody
Of course, there are some disadvantages of living in a house near waterbody, especially if it is inside your residential complex. A waterbody needs regular cleaning and maintenance, otherwise, it will become a refuge of diseases. This increases the regular cost of maintenance.
Moreover, water in a pond needs to be disinfected and the adjoining areas need to be deweeded regularly. Fountains need to be cleaned and maintained regularly.
The Final Word
There is little doubt that living in a house near waterbody has huge advantages. Apart from the health benefits it offers, you can always watch birds like Rajat and Sumitra.
If you want to buy a flat in a residential complex, prefer the one which has got a waterbody inside.