Engaging in blue exercise: Exploring participant motivation and its impact on physical activity and wellbeing

Thompson, Nadine and Wilkie, Stephanie (2019) Engaging in blue exercise: Exploring participant motivation and its impact on physical activity and wellbeing. In: International Congress on Environmental Psychology, 4-6 September 2019, Plymouth UK.

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Introduction: Exercise in natural environments positively impacts physical and mental wellbeing. Most research has focused on green exercise, with less investigation of blue exercise (i.e. exercise in water). The aim was to explore why people engage in blue exercise and its impact on wellbeing.

Methods: Qualitative interviews (N = 8) were conducted with kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, surfing and open-water swimming participants. They were recruited by email to local clubs. Semi-structured interviews focused on blue exercise type, feelings during/after, and non-blue exercise participation. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Motivations included being in nature, seeing land from a different perspective, and escaping daily responsibilities. Health benefits included improved physical health, particularly for persons with physical conditions, relaxation/mindfulness, and managing mental health through non-medicinal methods. Participants emphasized social aspects compared with other exercise; particularly through scaffolding others. They highlighted respect for water and feelings of achievement by overcoming their fear of it.

Discussion: The findings supported social, mental and physical benefits of exercising in nature, with several unique motivations for blue exercise. Encouraging blue exercise may have public health potential; but research should explore barriers to engaging with it and how it differs from other nature-based exercise.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Stephanie Wilkie
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2019 10:09
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2020 14:48
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/11190

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