2 in 3 Americans regret not spending more time outdoors as a kid

NEW YORK — Although they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, one-third of Americans don’t feel too old to learn something new about the outdoors. In a new poll of 2,000 Americans, researchers find most respondents feel like they’ve missed the window to pick up crucial outdoor skills.

Outdoor hobbiesThe average respondent believes that learning how to properly camp is nearly impossible if you don’t get into it before you’re 11 years-old, or fishing by the time you’re 12. However, 31 percent argue it’s never too late to learn a new hobby.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and their Take Me Fishing campaign, the survey finds that most of America’s childhood outdoor experiences came alongside mom and dad (53%) or other relatives like their grandparents (37%).

Perhaps connected to their thoughts of “aging out” of certain activities, 63 percent of respondents regret not spending more of their childhood in the great outdoors. As they’ve progressed into adulthood, 54 percent of Americans are now hesitant to pick up outdoor activities out of fear they won’t be good at it.

The Great Outdoors are still great for all ages

Despite agreeing that joining a local group or class to learn new activities is the most convenient way to pick up a new hobby, 47 percent feel uncomfortable about actually signing up. What’s holding Americans back from taking this leap? Over half the poll worry they won’t fit in.

Outdoor hobbiesThe top outdoor activities Americans are eager to try out include boating, hiking, fishing, and camping. Just over one in five respondents are keen to even try horseback riding and surfing. When it comes to fishing specifically, there’s a shared interest between men and women – but these Americans do have some disagreements about the truths when tossing a line.

More than a third (35%) of men believe you must always be quiet while fishing, but only 27 percent of women say this rule is true.

“The beauty of outdoor activities – especially fishing and boating – is that it’s enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and cultures,” says Stephanie Vatalaro, senior vice president of marketing and communications for RBFF, in a statement. “We believe the water is open to everyone. No matter your skill level or background, the water is a place for all to relax and recharge.”

Another barrier to Americans getting outdoors is lack of time. Over half the poll believe they need lots of free time in order to take up an outdoor activity. However, 54 percent say the most convenient way to learn new outdoors skills is with family and friends.

“I try to spend as much time as possible on the water with my family,” Vatalaro adds. “Not only are we staying active when we’re fishing, we’re bonding and becoming closer with one another. Catching fish isn’t the only highlight of being on the water, it’s the time spent in nature or with people you love.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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