The Fitness Generation is now part of NovoFit - see www.ausleisure.com.au/suppliers/novofit/read more
Lincoln University research shows technology enhances the outdoor experience
While traditionalists often hold the view that digital technology has no place in natural settings, new Lincoln University research suggests mobile devices are more likely to enhance outdoor pursuits than detract from them.
PhD student Caroline Dépatie has surveyed recreationists in the Port Hills to discover how technology can transform the outdoor experience. She also investigated whether people found it difficult to deal with the paradox of experiencing the natural environment while using their devices.
Dr Roslyn Kerr, Lincoln University's Head of the Department of Tourism, Sport and Society and one of the project supervisors, explains “the Port Hills are a unique peri-urban setting, in that they combine the natural and the urban, so perhaps technological devices will be used more readily here than in true wilderness settings.
“Some research participants felt awkward about using technology due to its potential to erode their experience of nature.
“But more commonly, they used devices to enhance their experience. Many felt safer carrying a cellphone and some listened to music or used fitness trackers to increase their motivation to exercise.
“Ultimately, they used their devices in different ways for a personalised experience. They described making very deliberate decisions about when and how to use their digital devices based on their motivations and setting.”
Dr Kerr says these findings are significant, as recreation policymakers could benefit from offering varied technological options in outdoor areas rather than considering policies that restrict the use of technology.
Dr Kerr added “outdoor recreation literature might also want to move away from the view that technology is detrimental to the outdoor recreation experience.”
Initially, more than 500 research participants were surveyed about which digital devices they used during their activities and why they used them. Then 30 recreationists were interviewed about how the devices either altered or enhanced their experiences.
The most popular activities performed by research participants were walking and mountain biking, and 87% carried some form of digital technology, most commonly a cellphone.
Reasons included safety, communicating with friends and family, taking photos, collecting fitness data, and listening to music.
Dr Kerr continued “recreationists often carried their phones to increase their perception of safety, but they acknowledged that sometimes it provided a false sense of security, as the phone is limited in its ability to act to save an individual. Concerns were raised about limited battery life, breakability and network coverage.”
A mountain biker said her experience was enhanced by using technology to self-track fitness data, which pushed her to go further each time and increased competition among friends.
Those who listened to music said it boosted their motivation to exercise and enhanced the enjoyment of the activity, but only if they were alone.
Dr Kerr concluded “digital devices were not seen as eroding solitude; they offered a way to potentially improve the per-urban outdoor recreation experience
“However, participants seemed to deliberately leave their devices behind when recreating with others, as it represented a potential disruption to the social experience.
“This adds weight to the fact that people are happy to be able to pick and choose when they use digital technology in outdoor settings, rather than be deprived of the option to use their devices at all.”
Dr Kerr addressed this topic at the recent New Zealand Recreation Association Outdoors Forum.
Images: Solar charger (top) and the Port Hills (below).
29th August 2016 - EXPERTS TO DEBATE OUTDOOR RECREATION IN A DIGITAL AGE
20th October 2015 - CAN OUTDOOR RECREATION CATER FOR NEW ZEALAND’S RECORD POPULATION GROWTH?
3rd September 2015 - SPORT NZ SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS THE VALUE OF OUTDOOR RECREATION
13th April 2015 - RECREATION BOOKINGS AND REGISTRATIONS MADE EASY WITH ENVIBE
31st March 2015 - NEW TOURISM PARTNERS AIMING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…read more
APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. From…read more
Track. Engage. Retain GreeneDesk is a suite of cloud based software solutions helping health clubs, leisure centres and swim schools to effectively track progression, improve customer engagement and…read more
ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…read more
Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia and Australia, Technogym exports its…read more
iEDM integrate Design, Engineering and Delivery Management services to convert existing spaces into exciting new entertainment venues. Our team consists of highly qualified professionals with diverse…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!