The role of nature for physical activity promotion ─ physical activity and green infrastructure in Finland


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Objectives, impacts and benefits

In this project we are looking for new ways to promote physical activity in Finland. The green infrastructure plays an important role in residents everyday life. However there is a lack of information of the green infrastructure that promote physically active lifestyle and mechanisms behind. In this study we analyze large population level dataset to fulfil this gap of knowledge.

With Naturemove we provide broader understanding of mechanisms and environments that promote active life style. Naturemove project is also to add to scientific knowledge of nature relationship and its role in physical activity. The results will be published via scientific articles but also in journals that are aimed to stakeholders working in planning and management. Other channels for dissemination are e.g. blogs, presentations in seminars, and active participation in the discussion.

NatureMove project is looking ways to promote physically active lifestyle through nature.

Nature in cities, such as forests, parks and beaches, are important to the wellbeing and health of the residents. The goal of NatureMove project is to study the accessibility and quality of nature in living environments, the impact of nearby nature on residents’ physical activity, and to identify individual differences in relationships with nature and its possible impact on activities in nature. Another goal is to identify locations and quality factors that increase or decrease the level of activity. Research data helps to plan living environments that support active lifestyle and to develop outdoor recreation services for different groups of people. The results of this project will be made present in national and municipal decision-making processes, and local planning regarding living environments, and to serve the sports policy.

The “Helsinki Outdoor Recreation and Exercise in Natural Environments Survey 2018” is part of the NatureMove project. People living in Helsinki can highlight the most important natural environments from their neighborhood that they like to visit, go to exercise, or spend time in. In addition, people can also mark on the map locations that they think should be developed.

The respondents to the survey were randomly selected from among people of 18–80 years living in different parts of Helsinki. An invitation letter to the survey was sent by post, including a personal link and instructions on how to respond to the survey.

The NatureMove “Luonnonympäristöt liikunta-aktiivisuuden edistäjänä Suomessa (Natural environments promoting an active lifestyle in Finland)” project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). NatureMove is implemented in cooperation with the National Institute for Health and Welfare  in 2016–2018.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a research and expert organisation which works to advance the sustainable use of natural resources and the bioeconomy. Luke’s goal is to increase the benefits people obtain from the immaterial values of nature.