Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

“I’m just lost in the world”: The Impact of Blue Exercise on Participant Wellbeing

Thompson, Nadine and Wilkie, Stephanie (2020) “I’m just lost in the world”: The Impact of Blue Exercise on Participant Wellbeing. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. ISSN 2159-676X

Item Type: Article


Exercise in natural environments positively impacts physical, social and mental wellbeing. However, most research has focused on green exercise, with less investigation of blue exercise (i.e. exercise in natural water). The study explored how blue exercise impacted wellbeing and whether its benefits were unique from other types of physical activity. Qualitative interviews (N = 8) were conducted with adults who participated in kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, surfing and open-water swimming. Semi-structured interviews focused on blue exercise type, feelings during/after, and non-blue exercise participation. Transcripts were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Benefits from blue exercise 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 supporting others in skill development. They highlighted respect for water and feelings of achievement by overcoming their fear of it. The findings supported social, mental and physical benefits of exercising in nature liked to restorative environments and basic psychological need fulfilment, with several unique benefits specific to 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.

[img] Microsoft Word
Thompson_Wilkie_Accepted Version .docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (69kB)

More Information

Depositing User: Stephanie Wilkie


Item ID: 11970
Identification Number:
ISSN: 2159-676X
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Stephanie Wilkie: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2020 18:10
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 02:38


Author: Stephanie Wilkie ORCID iD
Author: Nadine Thompson

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology



Actions (login required)

View Item (Repository Staff Only) View Item (Repository Staff Only)