Keeping Leisure in mind: the intervening role of leisure in the blue space - health nexus

Gammon, Sean James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5053-8763 and Jarratt, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7244-428X (2019) Keeping Leisure in mind: the intervening role of leisure in the blue space - health nexus. In: Blue Space, Health and Wellbeing: Hydrophilia Unbounded. Geographies of Health Series, 1st Ed . Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 38-51. ISBN 9780815359142

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A range of publications explore the positive association between blue space and health (Foley and Kistemann, 2015). This chapter focuses on a third element of that relationship and frequent enabler of it, namely leisure. Engagement with blue space often takes place within a leisure context. The coastline is a long-standing example of this, with much leisure-based tourism across the globe taking place along it; for example, 51% of bed capacity in European hotels is concentrated in coastal areas (European Commission, 2017). This landscape of leisure not only facilitates ‘blue mind’ but also a leisure state of mind. Indeed, the many potential psychological benefits accrued from being by the seaside are largely enabled by being in such a positive state mind beforehand. Entering leisure states in and of themselves have been identified as psychologically beneficial (see Carruthers and Hood, 2004; Kleiber et al, 2011), but when such mind-states are framed around certain environments, the benefits can be significantly enhanced. Whilst the leisure state of mind has been identified as being made up of a perception of freedom coupled with varying amounts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (see Neulinger 1974), it is the many positive experiences that are propagated from such a state of mind which have been recognised as significantly contributing to wellbeing. One such experience involves an individual’s ability to concentrate and focus on an activity or vista, and thus freeing themselves from the many distractions that would otherwise sully their thoughts. Consequently, natural environments can be more readily embraced and interacted with, culminating in more powerful health affirming experiences.

Carruthers, C. and Hood, C. (2004). The Power of the Positive: Leisure and Well-Being. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, Vol.38, pp. 225-245.
European Commission (2017). Integrated Marine Policy – Coastal and Marine Tourism [On-line PDF document]. Available at:
Foley, R. and Kistemann, T. (2015). Blue space geographies: Enabling health in place. Health in Place, Vol.35, pp.157-165.
Kleiber, D., Walker, G., and Mannell, R. (2011). A Social Psychology of Leisure. State Collage PA: Venture Publishing.
Neulinger, J. (1974). The Psychology of Leisure. Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas.

David Jarratt (PhD) is Senior Lecturer in the School of Management at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston. His research interests revolve around sense of place and the consumption of tourism and leisure experiences, especially those relating to wellness. In recent years, he has been focussing on coastal tourism but also has a long-standing interest in heritage tourism.

Sean Gammon (PhD), is based in the School of Management at the University of Central Lancashire. He is widely published in sport-related tourism, primarily focussing on customer motivation, nostalgia and heritage. In addition, he continues to contribute to the field of leisure, recently co-editing a new text on Leisure Landscapes, published by Routledge.

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