9 Hidden Health Benefits of Living on the East Coast


What with the West Coast's seeming monopoly on juice cleanses, relaxed work schedules, and year-round sunshine, life on the East Coast might not seem like the healthiest choice. But dig a little deeper — even deeper… like, under those three feet of snow — and you'll find all sorts of hidden health benefits to living there. (See also: It Pays to Relocate to These 6 Places)

1. Less Flying Time

Unless you're frequenting Hawaii or Asia, living on the East Coast means spending less time on international flights to many popular business and vacation destinations. And this, in turn, means less exposure to the health risks of spending time in airplane, which account for about 14,000 medical emergencies on the nine major US airlines every year. While crashes hog the spotlight, the real danger with long flights is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DTV), a condition wherein blood starts to clot in the legs before potentially moving to the lungs or heart, and can, in extreme cases, even be fatal. (See also: How to Travel Without Getting Sick)

2. Fewer Drunk Drivers

The above of course assumes that you even make it to the airport: no mean feat in California, which had nearly 214,000 DUI arrests in 2013, topping the list of most infractions by state and beating the runner up by over 150,000 arrests. The East Coast, on the other hand, had only one state in the top 10 according to data released by the CDC.

3. Faster Walkers

So clearly, walking's the only health-conscious way to go. Specifically: walking fast. Researchers at the National Walker's Health Study found fast walkers had significantly lower death rates than those slow walkers. And while the East Coast's population density means more walking in general, its urban design (specifically that of New York City) means more people walking with more speed. Thus more health.

4. A Conspicuous Lack of Earthquakes and Tornadoes

Best illustrated by this New York Times disaster map, East Coasters have comparatively little chance of being sucked up into a towering wind funnel or dropped into a schism formed by shifting tectonic plates. Both of which can presumably have adverse health effects. (See also: America's 10 Safest Cities From Natural Disasters)

5. Allergies Be Gone

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England is one of the least allergy-ridden regions in the country, based on pollen score, the number of certified allergists, and the average medication use per patient. Seven New England cities made the top 30%.

The Cold Will Cure What Ails You

Last but certainly not least, there are loads of health benefits to living in the cold-weather climates that make up much of the eastern seaboard. Studies have shown that cold weather:

6. Burns Calories

Researchers in 2012 concluded that lower temperatures can trigger "brown fat", a type of body fat that burns harmful "white fat."

7. Reduces Inflammation

Everyone knows that ice can fight swelling, but a study at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance in Paris found that runners in cold weather healed faster from muscle damage. (See also: Natural Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles)

8. Kills Disease-Carrying Bugs

According to the Harvard Health Letter, cold climates are less hospitable for mosquitoes and ticks (among other pests), reducing the chances of contracting illnesses like lime disease.

9. Heals Your Mind

Despite what your hear about Seasonal Affective Disorder and the depressive symptoms it can cause, Psychology Today reports that a number of studies have found warm weather and sunshine don't actually improve mood at all. What do help are warm or sunny days after cooler or darker ones, implying that more variable climates can do wonders for one's state of mind. (See also: Natural Ways to Change Your Brain and Be Happier)

So not only does the East Coast foster healthiness, it may create happiness as well.

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Guest's picture

I love leaving in the east coast. Yes, we got hit with Sandy last year but besides that, all we get is a little snow every once in a while. I also love that I can get to about half the world in 6 hours or less so the flights are cheaper. And like you said, the traffic is not that bad. It could get crazy in cities like NY or Boston but that's why they have a robust metro system. People in the know don't drive in those cities unless is absolutely necessary.

The Jersey Shore folks give our coast a bad rep, but they have their own characters in the west coast.