Sports Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 963–968 | Cite as

Adventurous Physical Activity Environments: A Mainstream Intervention for Mental Health

  • Peter Clough
  • Susan Houge Mackenzie
  • Liz Mallabon
  • Eric Brymer
Current Opinion
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Designing environments to enhance physical and psychological benefits of physical activity: A multi-disciplinary perspective


Adventurous physical activity has traditionally been considered the pastime of a small minority of people with deviant personalities or characteristics that compel them to voluntarily take great risks purely for the sake of thrills and excitement. An unintended consequence of these traditional narratives is the relative absence of adventure activities in mainstream health and well-being discourses and in large-scale governmental health initiatives. However, recent research has demonstrated that even the most extreme adventurous physical activities are linked to enhanced psychological health and well-being outcomes. These benefits go beyond traditional ‘character building’ concepts and emphasize more positive frameworks that rely on the development of effective environmental design. Based on emerging research, this paper demonstrates why adventurous physical activity should be considered a mainstream intervention for positive mental health. Furthermore, the authors argue that understanding how to design environments that effectively encourage appropriate adventure should be considered a serious addition to mainstream health and well-being discourse.


Adventurous Activity Wilderness Therapy Adventurous Physical Activity Adventure Seeker Wilderness Therapy Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Peter Clough, Elizabeth Mallabon, Susan Houge Mackenzie and Eric Brymer declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Clough
    • 1
  • Susan Houge Mackenzie
    • 2
  • Liz Mallabon
    • 3
  • Eric Brymer
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism AdministrationCalifornia State Polytechnic UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Science, Natural Resources and OutdoorsUniversity of CumbriaAmblesideUK
  4. 4.School of Sport, Leeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

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