BACKGROUND: The aim of the study is to explore the diversity in recreational walking motives across groups with different sociodemographic characteristics, and to use a dynamic and person-centered approach to geographically assess recreational walking behavior, and preferences for place quality related to recreational walking.
METHODS: A total of 1838 adult respondents (age 15-90 years), who engage in recreational walking, participated in the map-based survey. We used the online platform Maptionnaire to collect georeferenced information on the respondents' home location, other start locations for walking trips, and point of interest on their trips. Distance between home location and other start locations as well as point of interest were computed using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Additional information on recreational walking behavior and motives were collected using the traditional questionnaire function in Maptionnaire.
RESULTS: The most prevalent motives for walking were mental well-being and physical health, together with enjoyment and experiences related to walking. Having a tertiary education was positively associated with mental well-being motive, experiences, and taking the dog and the children outside. Income was also positively associated with experiences and walking the dog together with enjoyment of walking and spending time with others. Using the map-based approach, we found that recreational walking often starts at a location away from home and is not limited to the nearest neighborhood. A total of 4598 points of interest were mapped, and the most frequently reported place qualities were greenery, water, wildlife, good views, and tranquility.
CONCLUSION: We used a dynamic and person-centered approach and thereby giving the respondents the opportunity to point to relevant locations for their walking behavior independently of their residential neighborhood. Recreational walking often starts away from home or is not limit to the nearest neighborhod. The median distance from home to the mapped points of interests was between 1.0 and 1.6 km for home-based trips and between 9.4 and 30.6 km for trips with other start locations. The most popular place quality related to the mapped points were greenery, water, wildlife, good views, and tranquility.