Contributions of natural environments to physical activity: theory and evidence base

S. de Vries, T. Claßen, S.M. Eigenheer-Hug, K. Korpela, J. Maas, R. Mitchell, P. Schantz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The idea that nearby nature stimulates people to be more physically active is quite popular. In this chapter the literature regarding the link between physical activity and the residential environment is scrutinized. More specifically, after introducing the main concepts and a theoretical framework the evidence regarding three categories of activity is examined: physical activity in general, walking and cycling (mainly by adults), and outdoor play by children. Overall activity is deemed important because of its link to total energy expenditure, and thereby health. However, the other two categories are more likely to be linked to green aspects of the environment. Also attention is paid to the possibility that activity undertaken in a natural environment is especially beneficial for one’s health. At the end of the chapter conclusions are summarized, directions for future research are proposed and policy recommendations are given, as far as possible given the current state of affairs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForests, trees and human health
EditorsK. Nilsson, M. Sangster, C. Gallis, T. Hartig, S. de Vries, K. Seeland, J. Schipperijn
Number of pages427
ISBN (Print)9789048198054
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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