Nude recreation

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A nude woman horseback riding

Nude recreation refers to recreational activities which some people engage in the nude. Such activities can take place in private spaces, such as in a person's own property or in a naturist context, but also in public areas. Activities in which people engage in the nude include hiking, running (in some contexts this is referred to as streaking), swimming, cycling and yoga. More passive activities include sauna, hot springs, and sunbathing, such as at a nude beach.

When such activities take place in a public context, they are subject to laws and social attitudes to public nudity. Most nude recreational activities take place in private places, such as naturist resorts, and when on public lands participants try to be discreet to minimize any potential discomfort it might bring to an accidental passerby. Some public places have been set aside for the use of those who wish to engage in recreational activities in the nude, such as nude beaches.



People participate in activities in the nude for various reasons. Many consider nude out-of-door activities to have health benefits. They point to health benefits of sunlight for some skin conditions and the body's production of vitamin D. Some nude proponents argue that those who take part in nude activities are often more relaxed about their nudity and body image.

Away from their private property, many people have the first experience of a clothes-free recreation activity at a nude beach, at a friend's place in the woods, or a party on the shore or skinny dipping.

Recreational nudity is generally associated with the naturist movement, though some people participate in activities without membership of naturist clubs or adherence to the naturist philosophy.

Nude activities

Naturist activities encompass practically all kinds of sports and outdoor pastime, from naked sky-diving to hiking and dancing[1]

Swimming and sunbathing

Young East-German women at a nude beach in 1988

Nude swimming and sunbathing are the most common nude recreational activities. These can take place in the privacy of a person's backyard or pool or that of a friend, at a naturist facility or at a clothes-optional beach. It is not uncommon for private clubs to have nude swimming on a male-only or a female-only basis. Other water related activities include naked snorkeling[2] and surfing[3]; nude canoeing or kayaking (sometimes called canuding)[4]


Nudist walking/hiking clubs in several countries organise nude hikes or walks (sometimes called free hiking or naked rambling) in the remote countryside.[5] Some individuals also engage in nude hiking. Unlike the example set by Steve Gough, most keep to wilderness areas and do not seek or encourage publicity. In keeping with naturist tradition, participants do it for the enjoyment it brings to them, and try to minimize any potential discomfort it might bring to an accidental passerby.

Stephen Gough, dubbed the Naked Rambler, in 2003/2004 made a long-distance walk from one end of the United Kingdom to the other, wearing only boots. He was arrested several times, and his walk was interrupted by two periods of jail time, together five months. Including these, the journey took seven months. He undertook his walk as a protest, in order to celebrate the naked human form, and to try to convince the public to stop being paranoid about the naked body. He observed that anti-nudity laws are more strictly enforced in Scotland than in England. He completed a second walk over the same route in early 2006, punctuated by many arrests.

Horseback riding

Some nudist resorts provide nude horseback riding facilities.

Team sports

Many nudist resorts own or lease facilities that allow members to play sports such as volleyball, tennis, badminton, bowling in the nude. Typically these sports are played at a recreational level of intensity, and are not necessarily particularly competitive.


In the Nordic countries, with their sauna culture, nude swimming in rivers or lakes was a very popular tradition. In the summer, there would be wooden bathhouses, often of considerable size accommodating numerous swimmers, built partly over the water; hoardings prevented the bathers from being seen from outside. Originally the bathhouses were for men only; today there are usually separate sections for men and women.

World Naked Bike Ride

Since 2004, World Naked Bike Rides have taken place all over the world involving thousands of people. These take place in mostly western cities, where cyclists ride either partially or totally nude in a light-hearted attempt to draw attention to the danger of depending on fossil fuels.[6][7]

Bungee jumping

The performer Billy Connolly is reported to have done the 134m Nevis Bungee Jump naked, during his 2010 World Tour. Nevis, near Queenstown, New Zealand and other jumps in the area appear to waive the change for nude participants.[8][9]

Drama performances

In Utrecht May 2011, some of the performances of the play Viva la naturisteraçion!, ( which is about naturism and where the actors are nude most of the time), were played before a nude audience.[10]

The naturist part of Cap d'Agde has an open-air cinema.[citation needed]


See also

Media related to Nude sports at Wikimedia Commons