Technical University Munich hosted a working group meeting of key members of the partnership including the specialist researchers, academics, practitioners and policy makers for 2 days on 13 and 14th November 2017 to undertake a detailed check and challenge process on the information being drawn out of the studies.

17316 studies had been screened by the partners from 16 databases within 7 countries as well as international studies. Of these, 150 studies were selected that had demonstrated evidence of social benefits associated with outdoor sports.







The focus of the studies in terms of benefits was as follows (note some studies focused on more than 1 benefit):

Physical health and Well-being:                74 studies

Education and lifelong learning:               32 studies

  • Knowledge and understanding of self
  • Knowledge and understanding of other people’s needs
  • Knowledge and understanding of the natural environment and our dependency on it

Active citizenship:                                            22 studies

  • Social inclusion with a focus on gender equality, disability inclusion           and inclusion of migrants (BUT: program with a group of disabled has     not automatically inclusion benefits)
  • – Increasing of Volunteering
  • – Improved community cohesion

Crime reduction:                                             4 studies

Additional benefits:                                       33 studies

The additional benefits that were highlighted from the studies were as follows, although some could be encompassed within the existing set:

  • Increased self-steem, confidence, increased resilience
  • Better quality of life, satisfaction
  • Extending life expectancy
  • Successful and happy ageing
  • Flow experience (can be known as “the zone”, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity; associated with positive mood).
  • Improved attitudes towards physical activity, higher sport adherence, higher enjoyment
  • Increasing the likelihood of children to pursue a lifetime of physical activity participation, potential to attract participants and foster life-long hobbies
  • Activities with few limitations to participation, low-income families, underrepresented groups, appealing and sustainable for all sectors of the population (especially parks in cities were mentioned as low-cost possibilities for everyone)
  • Outdoor Sports as therapeutic treatment, programs are more appealing than conventional clinical treatments
  • Rehabilitation of drug addicts
  • recuperation; self-concept and better self-perception of persons with disabilities due to injuries
  • Changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity
  • Academic learning
  • Outdoor Sport programmes have a positive effect on the sense of purpose for learning to and encourage disengaged youth to remain active contributors to society
  • re-engaging disaffected or disadvantaged young people
  • Personal and social responsibility
  • Outdoor Sports as means of social activity, lower loneliness, social connectedness, parc as social place
  • economic benefits (employment, visitor spend, economic benefits of lower inactivity…) and low cost investments

The studies had been categorised by TUM according to the methodology used and there was some discussion on the categories and it was agreed to expand the categories as follows:

Code Methodology Example/description
A Systematic reviews/
Reviews of data that use transparent and rigorous methodology.
Meta-analysis includes statistical analysis of results.
B Randomised Controlled
Trials (RCTs)
Clinical trials with clear methodology. They use randomised
participants and control groups.
C Case-control studies Experimental design without randomized trials but with a control group
D Longitudinal studies? Ex-post facto studies and pre-post studies without control group
E Cross-sectional surveys Cross-sectional design collects data at a defined time.
F Case reports/study/ programs/ qualitative evaluations Intensive but qualitative analysis of an individual or group, or a program. No case control. Descriptive or explanatory.
G Economic evaluation Economic analysis methods to quantifythe economic value of an intervention, programm, activity etc.
H Narrative review non systematic Literature review without systematic approach
I Policy statement, theoretical paper Expert opinion, scientific statements and reports etc.

It was agreed that while the quality of the studies is dependent on the methodology use, they would not be ranked in terms of quality as it comparisons between them would be challenging.

The group discussed how to make the information public and it was agreed that at the end of Work Package 1 that:

  • There will be a short summary of the national view with a structure provided by TUM (1/2 a page)
  • There will be a table with a short summary of the 120+ selected studies with the key outcomes highlighted

The excel table with the larger level of detail on all the studies would be retained for internal use.

There was some discussion on what would be applied to exclude any studies from the list and the following criteria:

  • Motorized sports
  • Sports on artificial courts and playgrounds
  • Acticivities that are not physically demanding
  • Activities that focus on an object (e.g. ball)
  • Outdoor recreation that does not include physical activity e.g. camping, bird watching etc.
  • Studies without benefits
  • Only training outcomes, e.g. “sport enhances muscles“
  • Management advice, exercises and examples for programmes/trainings
  • Outdoor play
  • Open space activities like gardening etc.

Tim Goodspeed highlighted that we need to consider what the ultimate purpose of the project is and whether it is about proving the value of outdoor sports or improving what a project, region or organisation is doing. This created some discussion on clarity of purpose for the second stage of the project.

A significant part of the meeting was working through a number of what might be considered borderline studies and agreeing whether they did genuinely showcase the benefits of outdoor sports or not. This provided reassurance to the TUM team in terms of the work that they had done following the screening by each partner.

The partners will be required to review studies from their country and to write up a “national view” from their own country. Partners will also be required to drill into each study and then to update the Excel spreadsheet with the full information on the selected studies.

The next steps for the project are that the TUM team will review the studies again and re-categorise them according to the agreed mechanism and review the key benefits and the quality of studies relating to them in advance of the next meeting in Sheffield at the commencement of Work package 2.

The BOSS project is all about benefits of outdoor sport and the partnership always seek to put into practice the principles that we believe in. Therefore some of the team took the opportunity to “walk and talk” and explore part of the Bavarian Alps. Outdoor meetings can be even more fruitful that indoor ones.