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Background

Nature-based tourism has recently become a topic of interest in health research. This study was aimed at examining relationships among nature-based tourism, stress, and the function of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Methods

Three hundred and twenty-two older adults living in Taichung City, Taiwan, were selected as participants. Data were collected by a face-to-face survey that included measures of the frequency of participation in domestic and international nature-based tourism and the stress and ANS function of these participants. The data were analyzed using a path analysis.

Results

The results demonstrated that the frequency of participation in domestic nature-based tourism directly contributed to ANS function and that it also indirectly contributed to ANS function through stress reduction.

Conclusions

Domestic nature-based tourism can directly and indirectly contribute to ANS function among older adults. Increasing the frequency of participation in domestic nature-based tourism should be considered a critical element of health programs for older adults.