Residents of the Great Lakes region can take heart in the conclusion of a new report from Great Britain: People who live near water tend to live longer.
A research team at the University of Exeter based its conclusion on a correlation it found in British census data on human health and the environment. Among its theories for the link between longevity and proximity to water: less stress, more outdoor activity, a calmer lifestyle, and the soothing effects of sunsets and walks on a beach. Wealth was not a factor; people of limited means showed the biggest gains in life spans.
Day trips to waterways have provided psychological lifts for generations. But the researchers say there may be longer-term benefits from frequent visits.
As suggestive as such findings are, they strengthen the argument for keeping the Great Lakes and their beaches clean. Not everyone can afford to buy lakeshore property, or to make daily visits.
But for the millions of people who live between Detroit and Cleveland, the Great Lakes' most densely populated corridor, the lakes' benefits appear even clearer.