Alycia Sullivan is a Margaritaville college ambassador at Brandeis University. Learn more about Margaritaville University here.
As a PhD student and researcher in the field of healthy aging, I am always asked what people can do to stay happy and healthy as they get older. Well, I am excited to report that the Margaritaville lifestyle can help you live a happier and healthier life! Some recent scientific research suggests that the way of life inspired by Jimmy Buffett is good for a happy mind and a healthy body, and could lengthen your life.
People often report feeling happier and less stressed after a visit to the beach. This is exciting news, as we know that stress is linked to many negative health effects, including higher risk of many different diseases. Feeling happier and less stressed after a beach visit may seem obvious to a seasoned Parrothead, but some recent research is now backing us up. One study found that those who regularly visit areas with water (beaches, lakes, ponds) are happier and less stressed than those who do not. Another study found that areas with water like beach or lake are actually MORE stress-reducing than a hike in the woods or a visit to a park.
Visits to beaches, lakes, or other areas with water can also improve your physical health. Researchers in New Zealand found that people who live close to the beach were more likely to meet the physical activity recommendations than those who live further away.
Being physically active is very important to all aspects of health, and people who are more active often live longer lives. There are many opportunities to be active near the water, many of which Jimmy sings about often – swimming, surfing, fishing, sailing, biking.
Another way the beach can make you healthier is through sun exposure (I know people say the sun can be dangerous, but hear me out). While sun exposure can be bad in large doses, UV rays provide the body with vitamin D – a vitamin that is rarely found in foods.
Vitamin D is important to strengthening bones, preventing disease, and staying happy. Studies have shown that people who live near the coast get more UV exposure, leaving them more likely to have enough vitamin D and reap the health benefits.
So, there you have it…my professional permission (and advice!) to ‘live life like a song’, so long as it’s a Jimmy Buffett song! If you live the words of his lyrics, spend time outdoors, in the sun, and by the water, you are more likely to be happier, healthier, and potentially live longer. All the more reason to find and visit often your ‘One Particular Harbor’ and stay there. Oh, and also – Tequila is healthy. You’re welcome.
Alycia is a Ph.D student at Brandeis University and a Margaritaville student ambassador. She loves doing research on ways to help people stay healthy as they get older, and is most interested in promoting healthy behaviors (physical activity and sleep) throughout life. Alycia has been a parrothead for as long as she can remember, and spends most of her free time outside with family and friends. FINS UP!!