Up until a few hundred years ago, people were almost always under the blue sky. One of the effects of the modern world is that we spend less time outdoors.
Unfortunately, this means we miss out on some fantastic benefits of being in the natural world.
Kids will experience a plethora of positive effects with natural surroundings, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure.
This cues the brain that it’s okay to relax. The fight-or-flight mode settles down, and the body can ease into its rest-and-digest state. Being outside also helps to relieve tension in the body.
Looking at screens or books for a substantial part of the day makes our muscles tight and weak. Being outdoors helps our bodies move freely and relaxes the eye muscles.
Bright sunshine, especially early morning, helps regulate sleep and makes it easier to get some ZZZs at night. Higher quality sleep is a great reason why kids and teens can benefit from more outdoor time.
Did you know that plants release organic compounds called phytoncides that boost our immune system when inhaled? It’s true!
To add to the effect, vitamin D is another significant contributor to resilient immune health.
The mental benefits from spending time outdoors are just as prevalent as the physical ones. Spending time outside is an easy way to reduce anxiety and depression.
It helps our mood by keeping serotonin levels up and helps to improve our outlook and well-being. It also makes it easier to manage anger.
Children struggling to stay attentive or who have ADHD can find relief from their distractibility through daily outdoor time. Being outside can boost creative problem-solving abilities, which can improve school performance and success in life.
Lastly, spending time near water or greenery can increase a kid’s positive self-image.
Ways To Spend More Time Outdoors
Thankfully, there are so many ways that children get to experience these benefits—and many of them fit effortlessly into your life.
Here are some easy ways how kids and teens can benefit from more outdoor time:
- Eating a snack or finishing homework on the porch.
- Reading a book or practicing yoga in the grass.
- Hanging out with friends or the family pet in the backyard.
- Doing arts and crafts or a school project by the poolside.
- Helping walk the dog or getting the mail.
It is fascinating to acknowledge that these benefits of being out in nature are passive. You don’t need to “try” relaxing, focusing, or being happier.
These are simply side effects of being in the natural world.
At this point, even taking a phone or tablet outside to soak up some sun and get some fresh air would be better than doing it indoors.
Getting more outdoor time doesn’t have to be extravagant; the more effortless it is, the more it will fit into your life.