The role of relationship with nature and outdoor recreation on people’s health and wellbeing

  • A. Ojala
  • M. Neuvonen
  • L. Tyrväinen


There is increasing evidence that green areas support peoples’ health and wellbeing. Not only visits to green areas, and the accessibility of green areas, but also subjective relationship with nature is hypothesized to have a positive linkage with wellbeing. There is also evidence, that visiting green areas reduces stress. In this study we combine this knowledge into one path model to explain subjective health. We studied the importance on nature relatedness and outdoor recreation together with anxiety and stress indicators on subjective health as an outcome variable. The analysis was based on the randomly assigned survey data. The sample consists over 25-years old Finnish speaking respondents living in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The data was gathered together with the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The response rate was 46.9 per cent (n=3752). We used path analysis (SPSS AMOS 24) to analyze the data. The nature relatedness had a direct positive, and the anxiety and current feelings of stress had direct negative links to recreational visits and subjective health. The general anxiety as well as current feelings of stress had direct negative links to recreational visits. Finally, the more recreational visits, the higher was the subjective health. The full model explained 28 per cent of variance of the subjective health. The relationship with nature, as a motivation for recreational visits, could promote more active lifestyle and so better health. The importance of nature relationship and recreational visits in relation to anxiety and current stress should be studied further.
Oral presentations