Outdoor recreation

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Camping in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India Biskeri- Camping I IMG 7238.jpg
Camping in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India

Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation done outside, most commonly in natural settings. The activities that encompass outdoor recreation vary depending on the physical environment they are being carried out in. These activities can include fishing, hunting, backpacking, and horseback riding and can be completed individually or collectively. Outdoor recreation is a broad concept that encompasses a varying range of activities and landscapes.


Outdoor recreation is typically pursued for purposes of physical exercise, general wellbeing, and spiritual renewal. [1] While a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities can be classified as sports, they do not all demand that a participant be an athlete. Rather, it is the collectivist idea [2] that is at the fore in outdoor recreation, as outdoor recreation does not necessarily encompass the same degree of competitiveness or rivalry that is embodied in sporting matches or championships. Competition generally is less stressed than in organized individual or team sports. [lower-alpha 1] When the activity involves exceptional excitement, physical challenge, or risk, it is sometimes referred to as "adventure recreation" or "adventure training", rather than an extreme sport.

Other traditional examples of outdoor recreational activities include hiking, camping, mountaineering, cycling, dog walking, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, sky diving and surfing. As new pursuits, often hybrids of prior ones, emerge, they gain their own identities, such as coasteering, canyoning, fastpacking, and plogging.

Lungomare of Barcola in Trieste in the direction Miramare Castle, a place for urban outdoor recreation Barcola (TS) Il Lungomare 005.jpg
Lungomare of Barcola in Trieste in the direction Miramare Castle, a place for urban outdoor recreation

In many cities, recreational areas for various outdoor activities are created for the population. [3] These include natural parks, parks, playgrounds, sports facilities but also areas with free sea access such as the beach area of Venice Beach in California, the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or the waterfront of Barcola in Trieste.


Whitewater rafting Rafting em Brotas.jpg
Whitewater rafting

Outdoor recreation involves any kind of activity within an outdoor environment. [4] Outdoor recreation can include established sports, and individuals can participate without association with teams, competitions or clubs. [5] Activities include backpacking, canoeing, canyoning, caving, climbing, hiking, hill walking, hunting, kayaking, and rafting. [6] Broader groupings include water sports, snow sports, and horseback riding. [6]

People engage in physical activity outdoors as a form of recreation. [7] Various physical activities can be completed individually or communally. [8] Sports which are mainly played indoors or other settings such as fields are able to transition to an outdoor setting for recreational and non-competitive purposes. Outdoor physical activities can help people learn new skills, test stamina and endurance, and participate in social activities. [9] [10]

Outdoor activities are also frequently used as a setting for education and team building. [11]

List of activities

Mountain biker in Levin, New Zealand 20110825 OH H1013410 0091.JPG - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg
Mountain biker in Levin, New Zealand



Trekkers in Gorbea park, south of Biscay in Basque Country, Spain Gorbeia park.jpg
Trekkers in Gorbea park, south of Biscay in Basque Country, Spain

Trekking can be understood as an extended walk and involves day hikes, overnight or extended hikes. An example of a day trek is hiking during the day and returning at night to a lodge for a hot meal and a comfortable bed. Physical preparation for trekking includes cycling, swimming, jogging and long walks. Trekking requires experience with basic survival skills, first aid, and orienteering when going for extended hikes or staying out overnight.

Mountain biking

The activity of mountain biking involves steering a mountain cycle over rocky tracks and around boulder-strewn paths. Mountain bikes or ATBs (all-terrain bikes) feature a rugged frame and fork. Their frames are often built of aluminum so they are lightweight and stiff, making them efficient to ride. [12]

Many styles of mountain biking are practiced, including all mountain, downhill, trials, dirt jumping, trail riding, and cross country. [13] The latter two are the most common. [14]

Balance, core strength, and endurance are all physical traits that are required to go mountain biking. Riders also need bike handling skills and the ability to make basic repairs to their bikes. More advanced mountain biking involves technical descents such as down hilling and free riding.


Canyoning at Sundarijal, Kathmandu, Nepal Canyoning NP.jpg
Canyoning at Sundarijal, Kathmandu, Nepal

Canyoning is an activity which involves climbing, descending, jumping and trekking through canyons. The sport originates from caving and involves both caving and climbing techniques. Canyoning often includes descents that involve rope work, down-climbing, or jumps that are technical in nature. Canyoning is frequently done in remote and rugged settings and often requires navigational, route-finding and other wilderness skills.


Outdoor education in the United States

Education is also a popular focus of outdoor activity. University outdoor recreation programs are becoming more popular in the United States. Studies have show that outdoor recreation programs can be beneficial to a students well-being and stress levels in terms of calming and soothing the mind. [15] Universities in the United States often offer indoor rock climbing walls, equipment rental, ropes courses and trip programming. [16] A few universities give degrees in adventure recreation, which aims to teach graduates how to run businesses in the field of adventure recreation.

Outdoor education in the United Kingdom

In the UK, the house of commons' Education and Skills Committee supports outdoor education. The committee encourages fieldwork projects since it helps in the development of ‘soft’ skills and social skills, particularly in hard to reach children. These activities can also take place on school trips, on visits in the local community or even on the school grounds. [17]

Outdoor enthusiast

Theodore Roosevelt was a noted outdoorsman, conservationist, and big-game hunter TR Buckskin Tiffany Knife.jpg
Theodore Roosevelt was a noted outdoorsman, conservationist, and big-game hunter
Author and sportsman Ernest Hemingway was a record-holding trophy fisherman, seen here with several marlins caught on a trip to Bimini in 1935 Hemingway and Marlins.jpg
Author and sportsman Ernest Hemingway was a record-holding trophy fisherman, seen here with several marlins caught on a trip to Bimini in 1935

Outdoor enthusiast and outdoorsy are terms for a person who enjoys outdoor recreation. The terms outdoorsman, sportsman, woodsman, or bushman have also been used to describe someone with an affinity for the outdoors.

Some famous outdoor enthusiasts include U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Baden-Powell, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Mears, Bear Grylls, Doug Peacock, Richard Wiese, Kenneth "Speedy" Raulerson, Earl Shaffer, Jo Gjende, Saxton Pope, Randy Stoltmann, Christopher Camuto, Eva Shockey, Jim Shockey, Henry Pittock, Eddie Bauer, Gaylord DuBois, Euell Gibbons, Clay Perry, Arthur Hasketh Groom, Bill Jordan, and Corey Ford. Some pioneering female outdoor enthusiasts include Mary Seacole, Isabella Bird, Emma Rowena Gatewood, Claire Marie Hodges, Mina Benson Hubbard, Beryl Markham, Freya Stark, Margaret Murie, Celia Hunter, Rachel Carson, Terry Tempest Williams, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Ruth Dyar Mendenhall, [18] and Arlene Blum.

Sparsely populated areas with mountains, lakes, rivers, scenic views, and rugged terrain are popular with outdoor enthusiasts. In the United States, state parks and national parks offer campgrounds and opportunities for recreation of the sort. In the UK, all of rural Scotland and all those areas of England and Wales designated as "right to roam" areas are available for outdoor enthusiasts on foot. Some areas are also open to mountain bikers and to horse riders.

Outdoor recreation and cuisine

Culinary techniques and foods popular with outdoor enthusiasts include dutch ovens, grilling, cooking over "open fires" (often with rock fire rings), fish fries, granola, and trail mix (sometimes referred to as GORP for "good old raisins and peanuts").

International and National Outdoor Recreation Days

Nationally and internationally, a number of days have been designated for the outdoors.


BBC uses the word «free-luftz-leev» as a synonym for outdoor recreation in Scandinavia. [19]

See also


  1. The term "outdoor recreation" may also refer to a team sport game or practice held in an outdoor setting, such as an under-12 flag football league, often organized by a municipality or camp, but this is merely a case of shared nomenclature.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Extreme sport</span> Class of sport

Action sports, adventure sports or extreme sports are activities perceived as involving a high degree of risk. These activities often involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion and highly specialized gear. Extreme tourism overlaps with extreme sport. The two share the same main attraction, "adrenaline rush" caused by an element of risk, and differ mostly in the degree of engagement and professionalism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recreation</span> Activity of leisure

Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trail riding</span> Traveling on trails and forest roads by horse, bicycle, motorcycle, or all-terrain vehicle

Trail riding is riding outdoors on trails, bridle paths, and forest roads, but not on roads regularly used by motorised traffic. A trail ride can be of any length, including a long distance, multi-day trip. It originated with horse riding, and in North America, the equestrian form is usually called "trail riding," or, less often "hacking." In the UK and Europe, the practice is usually called horse or pony trekking.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scouting in Colorado</span>

Scouting in Colorado has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hiking</span> Walking as a hobby, sport, or leisure activity

Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. Walking for pleasure developed in Europe during the eighteenth century. Religious pilgrimages have existed much longer but they involve walking long distances for a spiritual purpose associated with specific religions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountain biking</span> Bicycle sport

Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, usually using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain, such as air or coil-sprung shocks used as suspension, larger and wider wheels and tires, stronger frame materials, and mechanically or hydraulically actuated disc brakes. Mountain biking can generally be broken down into five distinct categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain, downhill, and freeride.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canyoning</span> Traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques

Canyoning is a type of mountaineering that involves travelling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling (rappelling), and swimming.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Outdoor Leadership School</span> Non-profit outdoor education

NOLS is a non-profit outdoor education school based in the United States dedicated to teaching environmental ethics, technical outdoor skills, wilderness medicine, risk management and judgment, and leadership on extended wilderness expeditions and in traditional classrooms. It was previously known as the National Outdoor Leadership School, but in 2015, this label was retired in favor of the independonym "NOLS". The "NOLS" mission is to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment. NOLS runs courses on six continents, with courses in a variety of wilderness environments and for almost any age group.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Backpacking (hiking)</span> Outdoor recreation of carrying gear on ones back, while hiking for more than a day

Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often an extended journey, and may involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts, widely found in Europe, are rare. In New Zealand, hiking is called tramping and tents are used alongside a nationwide network of huts. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of a variety of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other words used to describe such multi-day trips.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adventure travel</span> Type of niche tourism

Adventure travel is a type of niche tourism, involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk, and which may require special skills and physical exertion. In the United States, adventure tourism has grown in recent decades as tourists seek out-of-the-ordinary or "roads less traveled" vacations, but lack of a clear operational definition has hampered measurement of market size and growth. According to the U.S.-based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity that includes physical activity, a cultural exchange, and connection with nature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Mountaineers (club)</span> Alpine club in Washington state, United States

The Mountaineers is an alpine club serving the state of Washington. Founded in 1906, it is organized as an outdoor recreation, education, and conservation 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is based in Seattle, Washington. The Mountaineers host a wide range of outdoor activities, primarily alpine mountain climbing and hikes. The club also hosts classes, training courses, and social events.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outdoor education</span> Organized learning that takes place in the outdoors

Outdoor education is organized learning that takes place in the outdoors. Outdoor education programs sometimes involve residential or journey wilderness-based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges and outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, canoeing, ropes courses and group games. Outdoor education draws upon the philosophy, theory, and practices of experiential education and environmental education.

River climbing, river trekking, river tracing or mountain stream climbing is a form of hiking or outdoor adventure activity, a traditional sport in Japan and popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and, in some ways, similar to canyoning or canyoneering. River trekking is a combination of trekking and climbing and sometimes swimming along the river. It involves particular techniques like rock climbing, climbing on wet surfaces, understanding the geographical features of river and valleys, knotting, dealing with sudden bad weather and finding out possible exits from the river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alpine Club of Canada</span>

The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) is an amateur athletic association with its national office in Canmore, Alberta that has been a focal point for Canadian mountaineering since its founding in 1906. The club was co-founded by Arthur Oliver Wheeler, who served as its first president, and Elizabeth Parker, a journalist for the Manitoba Free Press. Byron Harmon, whose 6500+ photographs of the Canadian Rockies in the early 20th century provide the best glimpse of the area at that time, was official photographer to the club at its founding. The club is the leading organization in Canada devoted to climbing, mountain culture, and issues related to alpine pursuits and ecology. It is also the Canadian regulatory organization for climbing competition, sanctioning local, regional and national events, and assembling, coaching and supporting the national team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">U.S. National Whitewater Center</span> Sports venue in North Carolina, United States of America

The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is a not-for-profit outdoor recreation and athletic training facility for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking hiking and ice skating which opened to the public on 2006. The Center is located in Charlotte, North Carolina on approximately 1,300 acres (530 ha) of land adjacent to the Catawba River, with more than 45 miles (72 km) of developed trail.

High adventure is a type of outdoor experience. It typically is meant to include activities like backpacking, hiking, kayaking or canoeing. It may also include mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, orienteering, hang gliding, paragliding and hot air ballooning.

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area is a state park unit of California, U.S., providing off-roading opportunities in the Diablo Range. Located in southern Alameda and San Joaquin counties, it is one of eight state vehicular recreation areas (SVRAs) administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. With a diversity of terrain ranging from rolling hills to steep canyons, Carnegie has become a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Get Outdoors Georgia, or "GO" Georgia, is an initiative created by the Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to promote family-friendly, nature-based and health-focused activities throughout the state. It addresses the growing epidemic of obesity. and its effect on the health of Georgia citizens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Woodswomen, Inc.</span>

Woodswomen, Inc. was a nonprofit organization focusing on education and adventure travel run by women, for women out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1977 to 1999. Woodswomen, referred to as the 'grandmother' of women's outdoor adventure groups, was one of the first adventure travel companies serving exclusively women and served more than 8,000 women and 1,200 children in its tenure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Field sports</span>

Field sports are outdoor sports that take place in the wilderness or sparsely populated rural areas, where there are vast areas of uninhabited greenfields. The term specifically refer to activities that mandate sufficiently large open spaces and/or interaction with natural ecosystems, including hiking/canyoning, equestrianism, hawking, archery and shooting, but can also extend to various surface water sports such as river trekking, angling, rowing/paddling, rafting and boating/yachting.


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