Nature-based Physical Activity Programming to Enhance Wellness (The Science)

August 29, 2017

You may have heard that wellness and stress-related illness have become central issues in redefining the national and global health agenda. There is mounting evidence that outdoor activity and contact with nature have significant positive effects on our health and wellbeing. Current research shows that the nation’s health care burden for stress and anxiety-related maladies is greater than 42 billion dollars annually. Using the framework that contact with nature is good for overall health, the Rendezvous Trailside Wellness (RTW) program may enhance health, fitness and wellbeing for participants through outdoor immersion—exposure to natural light, fresh air, and physical activity in a beautiful, natural, outdoor setting.

Outdoor Fitness as Contact with Nature
Research on the positive health and psychological benefits outdoor exposure, also known as “contact with nature”—is growing, and the benefits are well supported. The reasons for this are broad and there are several theoretical perspectives to suggest that: 1) Contact with nature acts as medium for restoration, 2) contact with nature is an opportunity for emotional care, 3) contact with nature provides a mirror for in-depth reflection. One such theory is Attention Restoration Theory.

Attention Restoration Theory (ART)
ART is a cognitive framework concerned with recovery from stress and mental fatigue. Researchers argue that natural environments characterized by novel and diverse objects of interest (trees, plants, flowers, leaves, clouds, etc.) are necessary to nourish and replenish mental attention and depleted energy. According to ART mental fatigue occurs when our capacity to direct our attention is reduced and we become more easily distracted. Studies show that natural outdoor environments are more restorative than urban outdoor environments. Exposure to nature provides refuge from the need for focused attention because nature-based experiences do not need direct psychological attention, thus, opening feelings of fascination, and deep realization of a special compatibility.

The Rendezvous Trailside Wellness Program
The RTW program not only delivers all of these very real physiological benefits, it offers you an easy-to-follow, scientifically based, exhilarating way attain physical activity in the outdoors. Enjoy and be well!

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