The SHIFT Rx Challenge: Take Your Doctor’s Health Recommendations Outside

Organizations such as The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The American Heart Association and The World Health Organization recommend basic levels of physical activity to improve bone health, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, reduce the risk of chronic disease and depression, and prevent heart disease and stroke, among other benefits.

The 2019 SHIFT Festival, which will take place October 16-18 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will focus on the health benefits of time outside in nature—benefits documented by research that can be found on sites such as Active Living Research and Institute of the Golden Gate.

To raise awareness of such benefits, we’re launching The SHIFT Rx Challenge, which encourages adults aged 18–64 to take The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Recommendations for Physical Activity … outside.

To participate in The SHIFT Rx Challenge, adults aged 18–64 are encouraged to do:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes outside in nature;


  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes outside in nature;


  • A combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity outside in nature;


  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week outside in nature for additional health benefits.

To support participants who accept the challenge, we have developed The SHIFT Rx Challenge Pyramid. Informed by Florence Williams’ research in her book The Nature Fix, as well as Tanya Denkla-Cobb/the Biophilic Cities Project’s “Nature Pyramid,” The SHIFT Rx Challenge indicates optimal “doses” of nature. From daily micro-doses that can range from exposure to daylight and plant life multiple times per day to annual multi-day excursions into wilderness areas where people can disconnect from technology, the Pyramid offers recommendations for duration as well as location of nature contact.

“Time spent outside in nature is good for us,” said Christian Beckwith, Executive Director of The Center for Jackson Hole, SHIFT’s parent organization. “In an age when the average American child spends seven hours per day in front of screens and seven minutes in unstructured play outside; rising obesity rates add billions of dollars to health care costs; opioid addictions outpace car accidents as the leading cause of death; and the growing disconnect from nature, particularly in our urban areas, leads to stress, depression and increased levels of mental anxiety in our citizens, time outside has never been more important.”

“We’re excited to help advance and promote the health benefits of time outside with the SHIFT Rx Challenge.”


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