The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions

Report: The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions and Expectations





In an insightful project powered by, our advanced AI-driven qualitative research tool, we understand the impact of outdoor activities on emotions and expectations based on 20 individuals from diverse backgrounds among UK residents. The participants shared their experiences, motivations, and challenges associated with outdoor activities, providing valuable insights into how these activities influence their mental well-being and future goals.


Participant Demographics


The interviews included participants of various ages, ranging from 20 to 60 years old, with a mix of genders and lifestyles. The common thread among all participants was their engagement in outdoor activities, albeit to varying extents and for different reasons.

The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions

Common Outdoor Activities


The most frequently mentioned outdoor activities included:

  • Walking and Running: Many participants highlighted walking and running as their primary outdoor activities. These activities were often chosen for their simplicity and accessibility.
  • Cycling: Several participants enjoyed cycling, either as a form of exercise or as a recreational activity.
  • Swimming: Swimming, particularly in open water, was mentioned by a few participants who found it both physically challenging and mentally refreshing.
  • Football and Other Sports: Playing football and other team sports were popular among younger participants, providing both physical exercise and social interaction.
  • Camping and Hiking: Some participants enjoyed camping and hiking, which allowed them to immerse themselves in nature and escape the stresses of daily life.
  • Gardening: Gardening was mentioned as a therapeutic activity that provided a sense of accomplishment and connection with nature.

"Climbing a mountain allowed me to realise anything is possible if you put your mind to it."

"Last summer in 2023, a few cherry tomato plants I had been working on finally gave fruit. The tomatoes were very sweet and I felt very proud."

The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions

Motivations for Outdoor Activities


Participants cited various motivations for engaging in outdoor activities:

  • Mental Well-being: Many participants emphasized the positive impact of outdoor activities on their mental health. Activities like walking, running, and swimming were seen as effective ways to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Physical Health: Maintaining physical fitness was a significant motivator. Participants engaged in outdoor activities to stay healthy, lose weight, and improve their overall physical condition.
  • Enjoyment and Fun: The enjoyment of being outdoors and participating in activities they love was a strong motivator. Activities like football, cycling, and hiking were described as fun and exciting.
  • Connection with Nature: The desire to connect with nature and enjoy its beauty was a common theme. Participants appreciated the fresh air, sunshine, and natural scenery.
  • Social Interaction: For some, outdoor activities provided an opportunity to socialize and bond with family and friends. Activities like football, camping, and picnicking were often done in groups.

"Winning in football helps me to expect and work hard to win in my future goals."

"It makes me rate my cooking abilities and learn new style of cooking delicacy."


Emotional Impact


The emotional impact of outdoor activities was overwhelmingly positive:

  • Happiness and Joy: Participants frequently mentioned feeling happy and joyful during and after outdoor activities. The physical exertion and connection with nature contributed to these positive emotions.
  • Stress Relief: Outdoor activities were seen as a way to escape the pressures of daily life and relax. Many participants described feeling calmer and more at peace after spending time outdoors.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Achieving personal goals, such as completing a run or winning a sports match, provided a sense of accomplishment and boosted self-esteem.
  • Connection with Others: Engaging in outdoor activities with family and friends strengthened relationships and created memorable experiences.

"It give me joy, remove sadness and stress, bring out smile in me even when am in deep thinking."

"It makes me more hopeful like I can do anything I want in my life."


The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions

Challenges and Barriers


Despite the many benefits, participants also faced challenges in engaging in outdoor activities:

  • Weather: Inclement weather was a common barrier, making it difficult to participate in outdoor activities consistently.
  • Time Constraints: Balancing work, family, and other commitments often left little time for outdoor activities.
  • Health Issues: Some participants mentioned health issues, such as hay fever or physical limitations, that hindered their ability to enjoy outdoor activities fully.
  • Safety Concerns: A few participants expressed concerns about safety, particularly when engaging in activities in less secure areas.


Influence on Future Goals


The influence of outdoor activities on future goals varied among participants:

  • Positive Influence: For many, outdoor activities provided clarity and focus, helping them set and achieve personal goals. The sense of discipline and routine developed through regular exercise translated into other areas of life.
  • No Significant Impact: Some participants felt that outdoor activities did not directly influence their future goals but still valued them for their immediate benefits to mental and physical health.


Memorable Experiences


Participants shared several memorable experiences related to outdoor activities:

  • Achievements in Sports: Winning a sports match or completing a challenging run were highlighted as significant accomplishments.
  • Family Moments: Memorable family outings, such as picnics, camping trips, and walks in nature, were cherished for the quality time spent together.
  • Encounters with Wildlife: Observing wildlife, such as wild boars or birds, during outdoor activities added a sense of wonder and connection with nature.

The Impact of Outdoor Activities on Emotions

Brand Associations


Participants associated various brands with outdoor activities, with Nike being the most frequently mentioned. Other brands included Adidas, The North Face, and Decathlon. Participants generally viewed brands that organized outdoor activities positively, as it demonstrated a commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.




Outdoor activities play a crucial role in enhancing mental and physical well-being, providing enjoyment, and fostering social connections. While challenges such as weather and time constraints exist, the overall impact of outdoor activities on participants' lives is overwhelmingly positive. Brands that support and promote outdoor activities can enhance their reputation and connect with consumers on a deeper level.

This report underscores the importance of outdoor activities in improving quality of life and highlights the need for accessible and safe outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy.

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