Outdoor Activity Benefits

Outdoor Activity Benefits

Australian research into the benefits of outdoor adventure activities conducted by the Centre of Tourism Research at the University of Canberra.


Here is the Executive Summary from this informative free ebook available here

Research into the benefits of outdoor adventure activities highlights the valuable contribution they make to personal health and wellbeing. As the empirical and anecdotal evidence in the outdoor adventure field begins to unfold, the proliferation of evidenced-based research grows exponentially. The unique opportunities within the natural and social environments offered by outdoor adventure activities provide varying contexts in which these positive connections are made. These connections are referred to in the outdoor adventure literature as being with the self, others and the environment. Outdoor adventure activities provide opportunities for the connection of individuals with nature (the natural environment), direct connection with other people (interpersonal), and importantly, with themselves (personal). Specifically, the benefits of these connections are shown to lie in the strength and placement of these connections.

This report draws on research from education, recreation, leisure, tourism, sport, adult learning, health, and therapy to highlight the evidence of the positive contributions of outdoor adventure activities. The authors acknowledge the combined effects of difficulties encountered when measuring experiences and benefits with the paucity of Australian and New Zealand research in this area. This has meant a broad sweep of the available research to include both qualitative and quantitative studies, theoretical papers, and reports from complimentary disciplines and other countries. The evidence-based research reported on here used a variety of methods including meta-analyses, questionnaires (mostly utilising psychometric questioning e.g. Life Effectiveness Questionnaire – LEQ), and in-depth interviews and were either cross-sectional or longitudinal in design.

The main benefits of outdoor adventure activities, as shown in the evidence-based literature, include interpersonal and intrapersonal skills developed through engaging in outdoor adventure activities in meaningful ways. Benefits for the natural environment were less directly evidenced, however indirectly were given as developing more nurturing individuals and communities, and the development of environmental awareness and stewardship. The long-term nature of changed attitudes to the environment and sustainability are yet to be examined through longitudinal research.

Benefits were evident in the psycho-social, psychological, physical and spiritual domains, particularly with regards to developing self efficacy, intellectual flexibility, personal skills, and relationship building. The benefits that result from participating in outdoor adventure activities are facilitated through the provision of appropriate facilities and natural resources and well as the design of programs that are intentionally working towards particular objectives.

While there was a wide range of available research, what this review highlights is the need to establish a strategic interdisciplinary research agenda within which researchers, program and activity providers, land managers, policy advisors and other key stakeholders may conduct research and evaluation, and then disseminate the knowledge for others to build upon.

You can get the full ebook HERE



by the Foundation for Outdoor Adventure

Great article to explain of the importance of having an adventure. Written in the UK but this article has some great value for our young people in Australia.

The need for adventure
In an attempt to understand themselves, others and the changing context of their lives, all young people are engaged, consciously or unconsOUTDOOR ADVENTUREciously, in an exploration of what it is to be human. This is in essence a spiritual journey, in which young people come to terms with the mysteries of human existence; establish standards and values by which they live and work; identify worthwhile goals and develop the skills and understanding through which these may be achieved.

Our society is changing rapidly, and this calls for new approaches to learning, working and living together. The importance of assisting young people to prepare effectively and successfully for their adult lives is obvious; the cost of failure in this task will be borne in the future both by the individuals themselves and by society. The challenge for all concerned with young people is to empower them to cope effectively with the choices, problems and opportunities which face them, and at the same time to help them develop a real sense of community and citizenship.

The Foundation for Outdoor Adventure identifies five areas of development for young people. In each of these, individual learning and development needs can be addressed through the empowering experience of outdoor adventure.

Explanation of Experiential Education

An Explanation of Experiential Education by the Association for Experiential Education.

What is Experiential Education?

Challenge and Experience followed by Reflection leading to Learning and Growth.

That is experiential education expressed most simply as it is utilized and performed by individuals across disciplines, settings and geographies. AEE members are transforming lives in so many different ways.Experiential Education

Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities.

Experiential educators include teachers, camp counselors, corporate team builders, therapists, challenge course practitioners, environmental educators, guides, instructors, coaches, mental health professionals . . . and the list goes on.

It is often utilized in many disciplines and settings: Non-formal education, Place-based education, Project-based education, Global education, Environmental education, Student-centered education, Informal education, Active learning, Service learning, Cooperative learning and Expeditionary learning.





The principles of experiential education practice are:

  • Experiential learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis.
  • Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
  • Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner2 is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning.
  • Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, soulfully and/or physically. This iExperiential Education nvolvement produces a perception that the learning task is authentic.
  • The results of the learning are personal and form the basis for f
    uture experience and learning.
  • Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large.
  • The educator3 and learner may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking and uncertainty, because the outcomes of experience cannot totally be predicted.
  • Opportunities are nurtured for learners and educators to explore and examine their own values.
  • The educator’s primary roles include setting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, insuring physical and emotional safety, and facilitating the learning process.
  • The educator recognizes and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning.
  • Educators strive to be aware of their biases, judgments and pre-conceptions, and how these influence the learner.
  • The design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes.



Fantastic explanation! Thank you so much to Association for Experiential Education for your article. Visit www.aee.org for more information.



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