Browsing by Subject "outdoor recreation"

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  • The ADELE Research Group; Saarenpää, Mika; Roslund, Marja; Puhakka, Riikka; Grönroos, Mira; Parajuli, Anirudra; Hui, Nan; Nurminen, Noora; Laitinen, Olli H.; Hyöty, Heikki; Cinek, Ondrej; Sinkkonen, Aki (2021)
    According to the hygiene and biodiversity hypotheses, increased hygiene levels and reduced contact with biodiversity can partially explain the high prevalence of immune-mediated diseases in developed countries. A disturbed commensal microbiota, especially in the gut, has been linked to multiple immune-mediated diseases. Previous studies imply that gut microbiota composition is associated with the everyday living environment and can be modified by increasing direct physical exposure to biodiverse materials. In this pilot study, the effects of rural-second-home tourism were investigated on the gut microbiota for the first time. Rural-second-home tourism, a popular form of outdoor recreation in Northern Europe, North America, and Russia, has the potential to alter the human microbiota by increasing exposure to nature and environmental microbes. The hypotheses were that the use of rural second homes is associated with differences in the gut microbiota and that the microbiota related to health benefits are more diverse or common among the rural-second-home users. Based on 16S rRNA Illumina MiSeq sequencing of stool samples from 10 urban elderly having access and 15 lacking access to a rural second home, the first hypothesis was supported: the use of rural second homes was found to be associated with lower gut microbiota diversity and RIG-I-like receptor signaling pathway levels. The second hypothesis was not supported: health-related microbiota were not more diverse or common among the second-home users. The current study encourages further research on the possible health outcomes or causes of the observed microbiological differences. Activities and diet during second-home visits, standard of equipment, surrounding environment, and length of the visits are all postulated to play a role in determining the effects of rural-second-home tourism on the gut microbiota.
  • Pitkänen, Kati; Lehtimäki, Jenni; Puhakka, Riikka (MDPI, 2020)
    International Journal Environmental Research Public Health 17 18 (2020)
    Contact with nature is associated with numerous psychological, physiological and social health and well-being benefits. Outdoor recreation, such as rural second home tourism, provides extensive exposure to the natural environment, but research around health impacts of this exposure is scattered. We review current research on health and well-being impacts of nature and discuss how the characteristics of rural second home environments and their use and users can affect these potential impacts in Finland. We discover four key issues affecting the impacts. First, health and well-being impacts depend on the users; urban people can especially benefit from rural second homes, while child development and the performance of elderly people can also be supported by contact with nature at second homes. Second, the regularity, length and season of second home visits influence the potential to receive benefits as they have an impact on the intensity of nature exposure. Third, the type and quality of second home environment affect contact with nature, such as exposure to health-supporting environmental microbes. Fourth, practices, motives and meanings modify activities and attachment and crucially affect both physical and mental well-being. We conclude that rural second homes have extensive potential to provide nature-related health and well-being benefits and further research is needed.
  • Korpilo, Silviya; Virtanen, Tarmo; Saukkonen, Tiina; Lehvävirta, Susanna (2018)
    Planning and management needs up-to-date, easily-obtainable and accurate information on the spatial and social aspects of visitor behaviour in order to balance human use and impacts, and protection of natural resources in public parks. We used a web-based public participation GIS (PPGIS) approach to gather citizen data on visitor behaviour in Helsinki's Central Park in order to aid collaborative spatial decision-making. The study combined smartphone GPS tracking, route drawing and a questionnaire to examine differences between user groups in their use of formal trails, off-trail behaviour and the motivations that affect it. In our sample (n = 233), different activity types were associated with distinctive spatial patterns and potential extent of impacts. The density mapping and statistical analyses indicated three types of behaviour: predominantly on or close to formal trails (runners and cyclists), spatially concentrated off-trail behaviour confined to a few informal paths (mountain bikers), and dispersed off trail use pattern (walkers and dog walkers). Across all user groups, off-trail behaviour was mainly motivated by positive attraction towards the environment such as scenic view, exploration, and viewing flora and fauna. Study findings lead to several management recommendations that were presented to city officials. These include reducing dispersion and the spatial extent of trampling impacts by encouraging use of a limited number of well-established informal paths away from sensitive vegetation and protected habitats. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.