Reconomics Plus

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The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched Reconomics Plus, an online resource to help sport and recreation organisations demonstrate the impact of their work on the economy, our health and local communities. This new resource brings together the latest research and statistics, produced in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, to highlight the contribution of outdoor recreation in England.

Outdoor Recreation - Resources for Health a short video by Manchester Metropolitan University

Reconomics Plus highlights key evidence including:

  • Outdoor exercise delivers an estimated £2.2 billion of health benefits to adults in England each year
  • £11.8 billion is spent on trips involving outdoor recreation per year
  • Open spaces provide a platform for community activities, social interaction, physical activity and recreation, as well as reducing social isolation, improving community cohesion and positively affecting the wider determinants of health

We'd urge organisations working across the sport and recreation sector to use the data and materials within Reconomics Plus to support their work. A full list of all available materials can be found in the Toolkit section below.

Stats and facts tell a story but it is also helpful to share case studies and real life, personal stories. So, we have gathered a range of case studies from Alliance members which bring the many benefits of outdoor recreation to life. The case studies link to one or more of the Government’s five key outcomes from Sporting Future; the economic, social, individual and the physical and mental health benefits of being active outdoors. 

You can find these case studies in our online report or in the case studies tab in this section.

We’ve also created a range of assets, including a summary poster and infographics, which are only available to our members. We’d encourage you to download and use these materials to support the great work already going on to highlight the importance of outdoor recreation. 

You'll need to log into your account and then click here to download them

The Alliance partnered with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) who provided in-depth academic insight into the benefits of outdoor recreation. As part of this, they conducted a literature review which draws together evidence on both the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor recreation.

Download the literature review here

MMU used the evidence they collected from this exercise to suggest recommendations which fall into three key areas:

  • the need to utilise ecotherapy as an economic, upstream intervention
  • the need to reframe outdoor exercise as ‘restorative recreation’
  • the idea that ‘free play is free’: that the true value of nature as a free and effective resource should be utilised far more effectively

Download the recommendations here

Emma Boggis, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “Our local parks, lakes, rivers and beaches are some of the nation’s best environments to get active. I regularly enjoy a Saturday morning run in my local park, a walk in the countryside or a lake swim – and from the fact that I am not alone I see the impact this all has on my community.

"Outdoor recreation can take place across urban and rural areas and many of our members deliver programmes to encourage people of all ages to get active in the local environment."

She added: "We have created Reconomics Plus to serve as an evidence bank to help us collectively raise the profile of outdoor recreation to national and local decision makers. It should be used to inform conversations on how outdoor recreation can be embedded across Government strategies, including those on physical activity, health, education and the environment.”

David Rutley MP, co-chair of the APPG for Mountaineering commented: “I know from activities in Macclesfield that outdoor recreation helps improve physical health and mental wellbeing, as well as making a substantial contribution to the economy. As co-chair of the Mountaineering All Party Parliamentary Group, I was pleased to play an active role in the successful campaign to include outdoor recreation in the Government’s new sports strategy. We must continue to work together to champion the many benefits of outdoor recreation and reinforce the potential role it can play in supporting the economy and tackling some of the nation’s biggest health challenges.”