In this age of technology, people are spending too much time using electronics. Even kids of the new generation are now more accustomed to electronic games rather than real physical play.
It is estimated that kids nowadays spend around 6 hours of screen time each day. Instead of engaging in outdoor physical play, kids now prefer staying indoors to watch shows or play games on electronic devices.
Outside of that 6-hour time window, kids use up their time doing school and daily life activities during the day—all of which are done indoors too.
This state of indoor living is proven to be the cause of the increasing cases of child obesity, psychological problems, and mental disorders. That’s why the global health industry is now advocating helping children rediscover the joy and benefits of spending time outdoors.
When children play outdoors, they won’t only learn the meaning of outdoor fun. They will also be able to enjoy the many health benefits that only outdoor activities can bring.
Here are 8 reasons for kids to be spending time outside:
Improves Cognitive Development
Cognitive skills are formed from the surroundings in which children are frequently exposed to. When kids get enough stimuli from their surroundings, they become more aware of how things work around them.
This encourages curiosity and the initiative to observe and investigate their surroundings. This is crucial to developing a sharp mind that is capable of understanding how world works and what they can do to make things work better for them.
Reduces Stress and Relaxes the Mind
Stress is the most rampant cause of mental and psychological problems in both children and adults. Due to the demanding lifestyle that most people lead today, stress has become a plague that slowly eats up kids’ mental well-being.
By walking and playing outside, kids get a breath of fresh air and change of scenery. This helps distract their minds from the things that trigger stress reactions and tension in the body.
Outdoor activities are also a great source of healthy mental stimulation that keeps kids happy. This is because outdoor play stimulates the production of serotonin, which is a type of neurotransmitter that relays feel-good sensations in the body.
Improves Muscle Development
When children engage in outdoor play, they use and move their bodies more freely. This provides great exercise that stimulates the development of strong muscles.
Building strong muscles is important in keeping the body agile, flexible, and well-coordinated. It also helps the body store less fat so that kids can achieve a healthy body mass index (BMI).
Maintaining a healthy BMI lowers the risk for obesity and other body image disorders associated with. This is because outdoor physical activity helps kids develop healthy body figures that they can feel happy and good about.
Helps with Bone Development
Strong bones are not achieved by drinking high-calcium milk alone. To make bones strong, the body needs Vitamin D as well.
Vitamin D helps increase calcium absorption into the bones. Without it, the calcium from milk won’t be properly used up and will only go to waste.
The only way kids can get plenty of Vitamin D is to bask in the sun. The sun’s UVB ray is what stimulates the body to produce this essential vitamin. When UVB is absorbed in the skin, the cholesterol in the skin cells are converted as fuel for Vitamin D synthesis.
This bodily process is the most effective way of obtaining Vitamin D. No amount of synthetic Vitamin D supplements can properly substitute for this.
Aside from getting Vitamin D from the sun, kids also get plenty of exercise from outdoor play. Exercise is important in bone development as well because it helps the bones and joints become more resilient to damage and injury.
Improves Heart and Lung Health
The exercise that kids get from outdoor play doesn’t only make their muscles and bones strong. It also keeps the heart and lungs healthy because of the fresh open air.
When kids breathe in more fresh air, they get more oxygen. Oxygen is an essential element that the body uses to maintain normal and healthy body functions. And the organs responsible for oxygen absorption are the lungs and heart.
During exercise, breath rate increases. This helps the lungs become more accustomed to rapid changes in breathing. This makes the lungs capable of compensating and increasing oxygen uptake to meet the body’s oxygen needs in various physical circumstances.
The same goes for the heart. During exercise, the heart works harder to compensate for the body’s need of oxygenated blood. The blood that the heart pumps is what delivers oxygen to the tissues and cells of the different body organs.
With plenty of outdoor exercise, the heart and lungs become healthier and kids develop stronger stamina so they can better withstand physical stress.
Promotes Active Lifestyle
An active lifestyle is characterized by regular participation in physical activity, social interaction, and healthy habits. This is the kind of lifestyle that leads to a long, happy life.
When kids are made accustomed to outdoor play early on, they are more likely to develop this kind of lifestyle. They learn to value the physical world around them and immerse themselves into nature.
Encourages Social Relationships
Outdoor play is usually group play. Many kids enjoy group plays because they get to interact with other kids and learn social skills that are essential to everyday survival.
When kids are used to playing and interacting with other kids, they develop a more positive and wiser outlook in life. They become more sensitive to others’ feelings and learn how to handle different social circumstances more effectively.
This leads to the building of strong friendships, diplomatic relationships and overall social well-being.
Promotes Better Vision
Another big advantage of spending time outdoors is the visual exercise kids get from green scenery. Being outdoors provides adequate visual stimulus that provide sensory exercise for the eyes.
Sensory exercises help keep the senses, such as vision, stay sharp. And a sharp vision helps kids become more aware of their surroundings and able to recognize the presence of outdoor hazards.
Spending time outdoors also help kids unplug from excessive electronic screen time, which is the main cause of the early development of vision problems. When kids spend more time outdoors, they spend less time staring at screens that cause visual strain to the eyes.
Spending time outdoors is essential to the healthy growth and development of children. There are still plenty of other benefits they can enjoy from outdoor activities, but they all lead to one end—developing a healthy mind and body.
When kids are healthy in mind and body, they become more versatile and well-rounded individuals that can thrive in life setting. The more they spend time outdoors, the more they’re likely to achieve their goals in life.