Lack of exercise has been linked to poor health issues (e.g., obesity) in American society. National (e.g., Appalachian Trail) and local trails are a potential resource for championing physical activity. To challenge sedentary lifestyle choices and promote more active ones, an understanding of the benefits perceived to be associated with physical and outdoor activities is needed. A total of 454 Appalachian Trail user surveys were collected. Validity analyses and reliability analyses showed the Benefits of Hiking Scale to be an accurate and consistent measure of the dimensions of recreation benefits. Within the improved condition dimension of Benefits, significant differences were found to exist between day hikers and section hikers (p=0.02), day hikers and thru-hikers (p=0.03), and multi-use and thru-hikers (p=0.04). By increasing participation in physical activities such as hiking on the AT, recreation professionals may aid in the effort to reduce health concerns directly correlated with sedentary lifestyle choices.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mgoldenb/8/