Project Title

Outdoor Education: Teaching More Than Just Natural Sciences?

Major

Recreation and Parks Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Ryan L. Sharp

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

This study will be conducted as a literary review in order to display the role that outdoor education programs play in the overall health and wellness of participants. Traditionally speaking outdoor education programs focus on educating a population on various topics related to natural resources and recreation within those resources. Research is beginning to show, however, that these programs may have a significant impact on the overall health and wellness of participants. Not only are these programs teaching the knowledge and skills necessary to interact in the natural world but they are instilling a new, healthier and more active, mindset into their participants. The physical benefits of adding more kinetic activity into one's lifestyle are present and have links to lowering the risk of obesity, which has become an epidemic in America and specifically in Kentucky. Aside from the physical benefits, there are an array of psychological and emotional benefits of participation in outdoor education programs. These benefits are often associated with a more positive outlook on life, leading to less stress, better social connections, and less anxiety. According to The World Heart Federation, stress, social isolation, and anxiety are considered to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease, another national epidemic that has a large impact on Kentucky's population. Encouraging participation in outdoor education programs not only encourages a knowledge and appreciation for the natural world, but also encourages lifestyle changes that can lead to overall health improvements, decreasing risks for diseases that are plaguing the Commonwealth and the Nation.

Presentation format

Poster

Poster Number

20

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Outdoor Education: Teaching More Than Just Natural Sciences?

This study will be conducted as a literary review in order to display the role that outdoor education programs play in the overall health and wellness of participants. Traditionally speaking outdoor education programs focus on educating a population on various topics related to natural resources and recreation within those resources. Research is beginning to show, however, that these programs may have a significant impact on the overall health and wellness of participants. Not only are these programs teaching the knowledge and skills necessary to interact in the natural world but they are instilling a new, healthier and more active, mindset into their participants. The physical benefits of adding more kinetic activity into one's lifestyle are present and have links to lowering the risk of obesity, which has become an epidemic in America and specifically in Kentucky. Aside from the physical benefits, there are an array of psychological and emotional benefits of participation in outdoor education programs. These benefits are often associated with a more positive outlook on life, leading to less stress, better social connections, and less anxiety. According to The World Heart Federation, stress, social isolation, and anxiety are considered to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease, another national epidemic that has a large impact on Kentucky's population. Encouraging participation in outdoor education programs not only encourages a knowledge and appreciation for the natural world, but also encourages lifestyle changes that can lead to overall health improvements, decreasing risks for diseases that are plaguing the Commonwealth and the Nation.