Inside the outdoor industry

Survey reveals women’s outdoor enthusiasm

New survey shows women love the outdoors


As personal wellbeing flatlines and government spending on mental health services declines, a new survey interviewing over 2,000 women who participate in adventure sports has revealed that 99 per cent find the outdoors has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing.

The survey, run by the independent research project Women in Adventure, asked women about how they spend their time outdoors and the effect this has on their happiness, worthwhileness, life satisfaction and anxiety. It also examined the impact adventure sports has had on other areas of their lives, looking at which sports have the most significant effect on wellbeing.

Hetty Key, Lead Researcher and Director of Women in Adventure, explained the motivation behind the survey: “Instinctively I think we know that spending time outdoors is good for us. Even a short walk in your nearest park or green space can make a difference – you rarely regret going out. When I launched the survey in 2017, I felt there was a lack of accessible information showing how and to what extent the outdoors impacts our lives.”

Partnering with Dr Ruth Farrar: Director of Shextreme and Senior Lecturer in Creative Media and Enterprise at Bath Spa University, Key and Farrar launched the survey at Shextreme Film Festival in October 2017. The pair joined forces with the Outdoor Industry Association, Kendal Mountain Festival, Outdoor Women’s Alliance and a number of other industry partners to distribute the survey. It quickly gained momentum with over 2,000 individuals responding and hundreds of women reaching out to share their personal stories. \

Key continued: “Now the results are published clearly showing the benefit the outdoors has on our mental wellbeing, I want to use them to drive positive change. By working with key partners in the outdoor industry and beyond, I hope activity providers and those who are invested in promoting the outdoors will utilise this information to help widen participation, improve accessibility and increase diversity.”

The full results of the survey were released on International Women’s Day – 8th March 2019 and are available for download on

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