December 2018

Family and outdoor recreation

Family and outdoor recreation
In partnership with


Existing evidence shows that doing activities outdoors can be good for our wellbeing. It can make us feel happier, and more satisfied with life, or less anxious and depressed. However, most of the evidence is about the individual wellbeing of adults, a small amount is about the wellbeing of children and very little is about adults and children together in families.

The review this briefing is based on examines whether taking part in physical activity outdoors, with family, affects our subjective wellbeing. By subjective wellbeing we mean the good and bad feelings arising from what we do and how we think.

We sifted through 135 studies


The review looked at studies published between 1998-2018, as well as unpublished reports produced by, or for, organisations about the wellbeing benefits of outdoor activity since 2013.

In addition, we carried out some detailed analysis of survey data to understand how spending time outdoors with different people, friends and family, affects our wellbeing.

Close Intro

What are the key findings?

Why should you care?

What can you do next?

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