The first meeting of the working group to develop the criteria for the literature review of studies into the social benefits of outdoor sports was held at Technical University Munich on 12-14 March 2017.

Andreas Thomann – (Technical University Munich)
Dr Barbara Eigenschenk – (Technical University Munich)
Dr Uli Dettweiler – (University of Stavanger)
Dr Eduard Ingles Yuba – (National Institute for Physical Education in Catalonia)
Maxine Gregory – (Sheffield Hallam University)
Dr Larissa Davies – (Sheffield Hallam University)
Miroslava Kolyandova – (National Sports Academy, Sofia)
Denis Boissiere – (CREPS Rhone Alpes)
Mike McClure – (Sport Northern Ireland)

Professor Jürgen Beckmann also joined the group for part of the first day and to welcome them to TUM.

Whilst it was an intensive 2 days of work, it had previously been agreed that it was essential to make the effort to get out into the natural environment as part of these partnership meetings. Such trips enable members to experience the benefits of the outdoors, see sights in the host area and also help to stimulate more effective working. The group went to the English Garden and for a short walking city tour in Munich and visit to the Munich Olympic site and park.

During the working sessions, the group focused on four key areas of work:

  1. Agreeing the definition of outdoor sports and what activities might beencompassed by this definition
  2. Discussing and agreeing the key words that will be used to searchdatabases of studies
  3. Confirming the process for analysing the studies and collating theinformation; and
  4. Deciding which databases will be searched.

The definition of outdoor sports that is being used for this project had been previously agreed as follows:
“Activities that are normally carried out with a (strong) relation to nature
and landscape and the core aim is dealing with natural elements rather than
with an object.”
It may include activities that have their roots in natural places but use artificial structures designed to replicate the natural environment;
Where the natural setting is perceived by users, as at most, only minimally modified by human beings;*
That are perceived as (at least minimally) physical demanding;
That are based on man or natural element power and are not motorised during the sport itself;
That may use some form of tool (for example a surf board, bicycle, skis etc.) or just involve the human body.
* Does not have to be wild, just perceived as natural.
While the working group produced a list of likely activities that could be included it was recognised that this list may not be exhaustive and some activities could only be included if the context (i.e. a reasonable level of physical activity or engagement with nature) is appropriate.

Clearly within the definition

Hiking, Trekking

(Trail) Running, Nordic walking

Triathlon, Adventure racing Orienteering

Cycling/Biking, MTB, Road biking

Horse riding

Ski touring, cross country skiing/nordic skiing

Snow shoeing, Freeride /off piste,

Alpine skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports on slopes

Swimming (in a natural environment)

Canoeing/Kayaking, Rowing, Sailing, (Wind)Surfing, Canyoning, Diving, Coasteering, Rafting, Kite surfing

Scrambling, Mountain and Rock climbing, Bouldering, Ice climbing, Mountaineering

Caving Paragliding

Maybe in the definition (Depending on context)

Outdoor education, Friluftsliv

Survival training, Wilderness Fishing/Angling

Rope course activities

Outside the definition

Activities on artificial/manmade playgrounds or courts like

Beach Volley, Football, Tennis

Skateboarding/Inline skating Spinning,
Golf, Minigolf

Motorized sports like

Motocross, Squad

Jet skiing/Motor Boating, Wakeboarding/Water skiing

Activities that are not physically demanding and/or don‘t deal with the natural environment as a core element

Walking (strolling) Taking the dog out Shooting/Archery Hunting

Camping, Bird watching Paintballing, Zorbing

One of the challenges the group faced was to agree the keywords that will be used to search databases of academic studies and also what sort of studies that could be included. It was agreed that the review should only include academic studies rather than magazine articles, books etc. (known as grey literature). However, information from grey literature could be used to augment the database by providing appropriate background information.

The sets of key words included outdoor/nature and sport/active/exercise and benefits/impact/effect/cost. The system for doing this is somewhat more complicated than this, but in essence this will bring up the relevant studies that showcase the benefits of outdoor sports. However the partnership tested the keywords in both their own national database and an international one to examine the sorts of results that will be found. This allowed the key words to be refined.

The relevant databases in each partner country were agreed and TUM will also search the international studies (which may bring up more high quality studies than those that are country specific).

All of the studies will be imported into a central database called “Endnote” managed by TUM which will automatically remove duplicates and then the partners will be reallocated relevant national studies to undertake a more detailed evaluation based on the abstracts. Following this review the best studies will then be returned to TUM with the key findings of the study highlighted.

TUM will then write up a report and collate a final database of the most relevant studies that have been identified. This database and report will be essential for the next stage of the project but will be a great stand-alone resource for the outdoor sector across the European Union.