Promoting physical activity in nature

The health and wellbeing benefits associated with physical activity participation across the lifespan are well known.

Engaging regularly in physical activity promotes improved aerobic fitness, bone health, sleep, immune responses and mental and cognitive health and wellbeing. Physical activity participation also reduces the risk of early death, developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer and other disease risk factors such as overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Despite these widely known benefits, approximately one third of South Australian adults and four out of five children and young people do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.

Increased physical activity, especially for those who do none or very little, accrues vast health and wellbeing benefits (as described above) no matter what the setting. There is also a strong evidence base that shows spending time in natural spaces, like local parks and reserves or the coastline and local creek beds, can have positive impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing irrespective of what they do when they are there.

The Physical Activity in Nature Action Plan 2021-2024

The Physical Activity in Nature Action Plan 2021-2024 (PDF 5.6MB) was developed to create and promote quality and accessible natural spaces that support more people to be physically active in nature. It was developed with the involvement of state and local government and other industry organisation representatives.

The Action Plan includes objectives and action topics for each of the following areas of focus:

  • More people being active in nature.
  • Quality spaces that support physical activity in nature.
  • Equitable access to engage in physical activity in nature.

It provides a strategic framework to guide future initiatives or work.

The main emphasis of the Action Plan is to support and encourage all people in South Australia to participate in physical activity in natural areas more often.

The following links provide more information on opportunities to be physically active in nature: