Outdoor Activities Benefit Children – Oakdale Leader
Modern amenities and interior comforts have made life easier in many ways, but they have also helped shape a generation of people who spend much of their time indoors. A 2018 report by international research firm YouGov found that around 90% of study respondents from North America and Europe spend almost 22 hours indoors every day. Children may spend a little more time outdoors than adults, especially if they participate in outdoor sports.
There are distinct benefits to engaging in more outdoor activities. Here is an overview of some of them.
Improved mood and reduced risk of depression: The YouGov report notes that around 15% of the world’s population is affected by varying levels of seasonal affective disorder, which is thought to be a direct result of lack of daylight. Symptoms disappear when days are longer and individuals can enjoy more sunlight. Children who get outside and get plenty of sun exposure may experience a more positive mood and renewed energy.
Lower risk of obesity: Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg of the American Academy of Pediatrics says outdoor play can help reduce obesity in today’s youth. Children can engage in independent physical activity that also stimulates awareness of their surroundings.
Improved Vitamin D Levels: Vitamin D has been dubbed the “sunshine vitamin” because sunlight hitting the skin prompts the liver and kidneys to create vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression and heart failure and can compromise the immune system. Children can improve their current and future health by maintaining adequate vitamin D levels through healthy exposure to sunlight.
Lower stress levels: Students of all ages face stressful situations that come from all angles. The arrival of the global pandemic has been an additional stressor that continues to affect children and adults. According to a study from the University of Essex, outdoor exercise provides mental health benefits that go beyond those gained from indoor exercise. Spending time in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem. A 2017 study of Japanese college students found that those who spent time in the forest for two nights returned home with lower levels of cortisol, a hormone used as a marker of stress, than students who stayed in town. . The practice of de-stressing outdoors is often called “forest bathing” or “nature therapy”.
Improved concentration: A dose of nature can help children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder improve their level of concentration. A 2008 study by researchers at the University of Illinois found that children with ADHD demonstrated greater attention performance after a 20-minute walk in a park compared to a residential neighborhood or downtown. -city.