Outdoor recreation activity refers to the pursuit of ‘leisure activities engaged in the outdoors’, in semi-natural or natural surroundings. There are many old and new activities that are included in this list – adventure trekking and racing, backpacking, bungee jumping, camping, canoeing or kayaking, caving, canyoning, cross-country running or jogging, cycling, fishing, hiking, horse riding, hunting, mountaineering, photography, rock climbing, sailing, skiing, skydiving, surfing, trekking etc; the list is endless as more and more adventure activities get included.
The two main objectives for indulging in outdoor activity are for satiating one’s desire to indulge in pleasurable activities as well as promote physical and mental health. As a result, even team sports comprising larger numbers of individuals as in camping, hunting, mountaineering, sailing etc. The beneficial effects of such activities are well documented that nowadays corporate companies often arrange these activities for their employees to instill goal-directed abilities in individuals and groups that provide rewards, both physical and social, and help in career progression. Qualities like leadership, team-building, decision making, situational judging, risk-taking, and quick and logical reasoning are all attributes that lie dormant in most people but are brought to the front only when circumstances require them. Most goal-directed outdoor activities are physical in nature but the emotional and mental gains cannot be ignored. The outdoors as a means of social networking and meeting physically challenging tasks that need endurance and stamina enhances and boosts an individual’s self-confidence, self-sufficiency and self-worth. In short, people who otherwise do not get much of a chance to propel themselves forward “show what they can do given the circumstances”.
Benefits of the outdoors
Most people in urban cities around the world believe that such outdoor activities are greatly rewarding physically and mentally; nevertheless, besides providing ‘utilitarian value’ what is sometimes not taken into account is that such activities lead to aesthetic contemplation and promote awareness of self and surroundings, with particular reference to nature, environment and ecology and the preservation of natural surroundings around us. Just being in the outdoors itself is a hugely calming and relaxing way of ‘seeing things that we do not always see, hearing things we do not always hear and feeling things we do not always feel’. Hence, it is only now being realized that outdoor activities are used as mediums of teaching, educating and promoting team building among children and youngsters.
As the spaces around us get smaller and smaller, more and more sports are joining the list expanding the scope of outdoor activities – parasailing, sport fishing, mushroom hunting, wildlife safaris, ice climbing, snowboarding and many more fascinating activities are making the grade.