Nature plays a great role in Finns’ recreational activities. Everyman's rights allow people to use the vast land and water areas for recreational purposes. Recreation in nature has become more popular in Finland during the past decades. More than two thirds of Finns visit natural areas at least once a week. Recreational activities in nature are studied to enhance physical and mental health by relieving stress, fatigue and allergies, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.

Recreation in nature involves different ecosystems for different reasons; forests, mires, waters, shores and alpine habitats offer opportunities for different types of activities. In general, people have personal preferences between and within ecosystem types. The preferred recreational activities differ between seasons. Accessibility to nature affects to the use of areas. Often suitable near home location or built structures (e.g. trails or duckboards) attract people to use these areas more.

Seasonal changes in phenology are natural attractions that tempt people to observe nature. The benefit of outdoor recreation in nature is the recreation itself. The activities in nature are experienced as recreation in personal level and may mean different things to people.

Recreation improves human health in personal level but the effects can also be economical and social in the form of avoided costs in healthcare and less days in sick-leave. The chance to go to nature has also intrinsic value.


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