In addition, the report looks at the relationship between outdoor life and quality of life and health, as well as how the population's outdoor life habits are linked to other forms of exercise and physical activity. It is important to point out that the findings in report are not generalizable to all outdoor activity, but is limited to the activities mapped by Statistics Norway, which are not a complete coverage of all outdoor activities; over time, new activities emerge, while others lose popularity and fade into the periphery. Thus, the purpose of this report is to examine and present results for the trends relating to the activities mapped by Statistics Norway, and these activities’ popularity in different subgroups in the population.
A general finding in the report is that the proportion who have tried various outdoor activities mapped by Statistics Norway has been stable or slightly decreasing over time. For example, 73 percent had gone on longer hikes or skiing during the last 12 months in 1974, while 66 percent reported the same in 2021. Another important finding is that the frequency – i.e. how often activities are carried out – goes in the opposite direction and is stable or increasing: At the start of the 1970s, one in ten people in the population was active in at least one outdoor activity 3 times a week, while at the start of the 2020s the proportion had doubled, to two out of ten people. At the same time, the figures show that the proportion of people not participation in any outdoor activities has been stable to slightly in decline.
Another main finding in the report is the large variations in the population. When we group the population according to factors such as age, socio-economic status (education and income), country background and physical health, we sometimes find large differences. Younger people and people with higher education and income are, for example, groups with particularly high participation rates, while single parents and people with low education and income are less inclined to get involved in outdoor activities. This shows that participation in outdoor activities depends both on structures and culture: people with higher education and income have both more time, better finances and perhaps parents who have also been involved in outdoor activities. These factors can lower the threshold to participate. These trends apply to both adults and children. Another feature is that, although younger people have particularly high participation, older people have increased their participation considerably.
Outdoor recreation is an important component of the state's public health work. The findings in this report show that there are positive connections between participation in outdoor activities and perceived health and quality of life. These relationships are clear for all the different groups in the population mapped in the report, but are particularly strong for the elderly, people with low incomes and people with reduced functional abilities.
The main conclusion of the report is that outdoor activities from the 1970s until today have a solidly fortified position in Norway. At the same time, the findings show that when we look at the population's participation in outdoor life in the light of various characteristics of the people who responded and their participation in other forms of activity, the picture becomes more complicated. Some groups are underrepresented, some activities have fallen in popularity while others have increased their reach, and participation in outdoor life must be seen in the light of participation in other forms of physical activity.