Weekly Article Post
Throughout our day-to-day lives notice how much time is spent indoors; sitting in class, at work, even where you work out. Aside from the sedentariness that is very common with working indoors, being more or less confined within four walls can start to have an effect on you as well. Simply getting outside those walls and participating in outdoor recreation has been greatly researched and show to have positive impacts on wellbeing.
When being outdoors, nature can deliver a bunch of different physical, psychological and social well-being benefits. There are many different activities to do with and without equipment that get your body moving. Simply getting ‘fresh air’ can refresh your body. Furthermore, just being away from the buildings of the city can help with clearing the mind and gaining awareness of oneself and the surroundings. Nature can provide relief from mental fatigue and provide a stress-free environment. Also, the social interaction with others in the community or those with similar interests can help with bonding and improving that sense of belonging.
A study done back in 2009 by Norman et. al. looked into how self-rated health is influenced by outdoor recreation. The participants used to conduct this survey were all already outdoor recreationalists who indicated that their current baseline health state was relatively high and they perceived a good amount of overall wellbeing. When they were introduced to a hypothetical scenario of not having access to outdoor recreation a significant amount said it would have a large negative impact on their self-rated health. Although this article shows the perceived impact that not being outdoors has, the participants that were used have to be taken into great consideration – they were already very active outdoors. The next step would be how to get those that don’t necessarily partake in outdoor rec to understand the benefits that it has on physical activity and overall well-being.
Cities around the US are starting to provide green spaces for the community due to the ever-growing research on the benefits being active outside has on health and well-being. Hopefully the message catches on and people start getting active because I think this could be a huge game changer for the obesity epidemic.
Norman, Johan et al. "Influence Of Outdoor Recreation On Self-Rated Human Health: Comparing Three Categories Of Swedish Recreationists". Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 25.3 (2010): 234-244. Web.