Physical health in green spaces: Visitors’ perceptions and activities in protected areas around Barcelona

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    © 2018 Elsevier Ltd This paper supports the crucial role that suburban parks and green spaces play as settings that provide resources for physical activity. A study undertaken in four protected areas in the metropolitan region of Barcelona found that the majority of the surveyed park visitors (n = 508) reported that physical health was an important motivation for visiting the parks (89.9%). It also reported a perceived improvement in their physical health as a consequence of that visit (88.0%). The most physically-active recreation activities were practiced more by younger people, nearby residents, and visitors reporting high levels of perceived physical health, motivation for visiting, and impact of that visit. Interestingly, green space visitors showed a higher perceived health than the general population of the region. These results, potentially useful for park management strategies, suggest the need for a better acknowledgement of parks and green spaces as promoters of healthy behaviors. Management implications: Typically the promotion of health and well-being (and more specifically, physical health) is not a crucial element of green spaces. However, the presented findings show that: • Managers of parks and protected areas should include this aspect into their planning.• Respective infrastructure should be implemented or enhanced.• An active promotion of physical health in parks and protected areas may also enhance the acceptance of these sites.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-32
    JournalJournal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


    • Green spaces
    • Parks
    • Physical health
    • Visitors’ activities
    • Visitors’ perceptions


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