The potential benefits of water sports for health and well-being in marine protected areas: a case study in the Mediterranean

Josep Lloret, Sílvia Gómez, Míriam Rocher, Arnau Carreño, Joan San, Eduard Inglés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Non-motorized water sports requiring physical efforts such as swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing and surfing are becoming increasingly popular in Mediterranean marine protected areas (MPAs). This research investigates the relationship between these types of water sports and practitioners’ psychological and mental health. It takes the MPAs of Cap de Creus and Gulf of Roses (north-western Mediterranean) as a case study and is underpinned by a literature review and in-depth interviews with specialized water sports instructors. Results provide evidence that doing non-motorized water sports in the sea has positive outcomes for practitioners’ physical and mental health. When done in well-preserved areas, these sports may be a viable tool for both wellness and health recovery, and could be introduced in the community as a preventative and rehabilitation health strategy. This should be accompanied by strategies to address the ecological impacts these sports may have on MPAs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Maritime leisure activities
  • marine environment
  • marine protected areas
  • mental health
  • physical health

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