The Health Benefits Of Physical Fitness And Outdoor Fitness

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Whilst not a widely known concept, the role that the environment and the natural world play in all of our lives is a vastly underestimated one. Not only can outdoor trekking and bush walking offer such health benefits that come from moderate continual exercise, but participation in the other outdoor activities and the natural world as a whole, can indeed have health benefits that extend far beyond the benefits of mere fitness and motor functioning in instead include physiological, social, mental biological and economic benefits (Pryor, Carpenter, & Townsend, 2005). Some of these including positive mental manipulation (Sugerman, 2007), increased imagination and creativity (Dowdell, Gray, & Malone, 2011), whilst other studies and research have…show more content…
The natural environment and outdoor setting is a highly useful forum in which to help individuals break away from and even supress depressive symptoms associated with mental illnesses, as well as develop an innate sense of mental and emotional wellbeing. Understandably, while activity in the outdoors such as kayaking and rock climbing can bring about various physical fitness benefits, studies examining the mental impacts, (Pasanen, Tyrväinen, & Korpela, 2014), (Sugerman, 2007) and (Pryor, Carpenter, & Townsend, 2005), also revealed that participants gain a level of mental stabilisation and wellbeing from partaking in events such as these, with some even commenting in surveys that, “I get a renewed sense of life” (Sugerman, 2007, p. 27). Additionally, it was revealed that more frequent and active visiting of the natural environment led to increases and further developments in the nature of the individual’s wellbeing (Pasanen, Tyrväinen, & Korpela, 2014). As a result, it can be seen that maintaining a link or connection to the natural world and breaking away from the urbanised modern world, can not only benefit with mental illness symptoms but moreover can potentially develop an aura of strong emotional wellbeing and…show more content…
Two studies explored this idea of ecology in the urban community, one through an assessment of the way in which children interacted with an artificially made outdoor environment play area in comparison to a nature emphasised play area (Dowdell, Gray, & Malone, 2011), the other study observing the role which a communal garden area played in Port Melbourne setting (Kingsley, Townsend, & Henderson-Wilson, 2009). Dowdell, Gray and Malone’s study (2011) highlighted how the two distinctly different environments affected the way in which the young children would play, specifically noting how, in an ecological sense, that the predominantly natural play area allowed children to explore the natural world, having grass, dirt, sand, mulch and more to play in and interact with, not to mention the overabundance of natural wildlife they were exposed to, and how this in turn impacted on their play time and in what way it was spent. However, the Port Melbourne research revealed that participants and visitors to the community garden

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