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Great Outdoors: Close to 30% of the public took up a new outdoor activity since the pandemic

Of those, nearly half have taken on more than one new outdoor activity.

Coomenoole Beach, Co Kerry; Coastlines were reported at the most frequently visited outdoor space.
Coomenoole Beach, Co Kerry; Coastlines were reported at the most frequently visited outdoor space.
Image: Peter Zoeller

MORE THAN 40% of people aged 18-34 have taken up a new outdoor activity since the start of the covid pandemic.

That’s according to the CSO’s ‘Our Lives Outdoors’ survey, which was conducted between 22 April and 9 May and included 9,346 responses.

Meanwhile, 13% of those aged 70 and above have taken up a new outdoor activity and 29% of the overall adult population has done so.

0103701_Pulse_3_-_Spending_Time_outdoors_infographic_V4 Source: CSO

New activities

Hill walking has fared most favourably among those who have taken on a new activity since the pandemic, with 26% now doing so.

Hill walking has also been the most popular new activity for males, at 30%.

However, running is the most popular new activity for those aged 18 to 34, at 36%, and it is also the most favoured new activity in Dublin (31%).

Meanwhile, sea swimming has been the most popular new outdoor activity for females, with 25% of those who have taken up a new activity opting for it.

Sea swimming is also at its most popular in the Border region, where 34% of those who have started a new activity opted for it, and it is also the most popular new activity in the West (27%).

Of people who reported taking up a new activity, 46% say they have taken on more than one.

Young participants, aged 18 to 34, were nearly three times more likely to take up more than one new outdoor activity (58%) since the start of the pandemic, when compared with those aged 70 and over (21%).

98% reported that they liked spending time outdoors, with 62% choosing coastlines or the sea as their most visited outdoors space.

For those living in urban areas, they most frequently visited urban green spaces (79%), while those living in rural areas mainly visited fields, farmlands, or the countryside (71%).

While the CSO acknowledges that the respondents “were not randomly chosen from the population”, it added: “Even with these caveats, we believe that this report provides a valuable insight into our lives outdoors in Ireland.”

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