Almost all Finns (96%) engage in outdoor recreation during the year. On average, Finns spend time outdoors 2–3 times per week. Reasons for outdoor recreation include the need to exercise, the desire to relax in nature, and the need to feel close to nature.
More than 50% of Finns name walking, cycling, swimming in natural waters, berry picking and observing nature as their hobby. 2/5 of Finns name mushroom picking, sunbathing on a beach, collecting and cutting small wood, cross-country skiing, boating and fishing as their hobby. The place of residence does not significantly impact the selection of hobbies. Most of these hobbies are as popular among those living in the country and those living in cities.
Outdoor enthusiasts can be divided into five categories
About a quarter of Finns belong to the category of those with hobbies focused on nature and contact with nature. The second category can be described as countryside-oriented. This category typically includes older men who hunt, fish, spend time at their cottage and carry out forestry-type tasks. They make up about a quarter of the outdoor enthusiasts.
The third category are youngish men interested in outdoor sports such as running, skiing and cycling. The fourth category are those interested in outdoor recreation with their families. About one fifth of all outdoor enthusiasts belong in this group.
Another fifth of all outdoor enthusiasts are passive in outdoor recreation. They have few outdoor hobbies and they seldom engage in outdoor recreation.
Changes in outdoor recreation habits are monitored every ten years
The Natural Resources Institute Finland conducts a national inventory of the recreational use of nature (LVVI) every ten years. It is used to examine changes in the recreational use of nature.
The first outdoor recreation inventory was conducted in 1998–2000 and the second in 2009–2010. Comparison of the results shows, for example, that in 2010 pensioners were more active in outdoor recreation than the corresponding age group a decade earlier.
Research is used to collate information on the Finns’ outdoor recreation: What type of outdoor recreation are the Finns involved in and how often? The research also covers issues such as the benefits and impacts of recreation in nature, and the effects of changes in the environment on the demand for nature-related recreation and tourism.
Research results are utilised, for example, in the planning of municipal recreation services and land-use. The data also helps operators in the tourism trade in developing and marketing their services.