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10 Amazing Benefits Of Children Spending More Time Outdoors

10 Amazing Benefits Of Children Spending More Time Outdoors

I remember when I was a kid, my mother made sure she sent my brother and I out to play every afternoon. Every day! We used to have a fairly big compound consisting of four apartments.There were nearly ten youngsters, aged between five years to fifteen years, or maybe even more, and we used to play everything from soccer to random games we made up.

We had a great childhood. Of course, we had no idea why our parents were so keen on sending us outside every single day. Now that I am a parent myself, I try to follow in my mother’s footsteps. I make sure my kids are outside everyday, regardless of them visiting the park, or simply playing at the backyard.

The reason why I emphasize my kids should spend time outdoors is because of the vast amount of benefits it holds. That said, nowadays, most parents are blamed to have introduced technology to their children at a very early age, which leads to a lot of primary problems.

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This article will show you some amazing benefits of letting your children spend time outdoors.

1. They absorb more vitamin D and have stronger bones.

The sun produces so much vitamin D it absorbs through the skin. Of course, a sunscreen lotion is a must when we are outdoors, especially for the kids. It is not compulsory to leave your child outside for long periods. Spending an adequate amount time is sufficient for a child to absorb enough vitamin D for the day. Remember, too much exposure is harmful for the skin.

2. They are physically active.

So what happens when you leave your children outside and tell them to play? You will witness blithe spirits running here and there, jumping up and down, doing things only possible by them. They’ll experience generations-old childhood favorites like climbing trees, collecting stones, building model houses with sticks, and so on. Such activities link to a healthy physical development. Thus, your children are physically fit, and have a smaller chance of obesity, heart problems, and diabetes.

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3. They have strong motor skills, and a stronger immune system.

When outdoors, children not only run around and jump up and down, they also ride bikes, and fall down while playing. All of these physical activities require motor skills. Once the children are specialized in such sports, their motor skills develop and they are more flexible.

Naturally, while they are busy frolicking outside, they are exposed to dirt as well. This is actually a good way to build up their immune system. Children who are acquainted with dirt from a very young age, have stronger immune systems compared to children who prefer to stay indoors.

4. They are more coordinating.

Children who spend time outdoors have a tendency to coordinate with each other more. Since they play in the same playground with their peers, they are naturally accustomed to sharing the toys, swings, and other playing tools. Thus, they build connections with each other and develop teamwork.

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5. They use creativity for imaginative games.

It’s not only that the children engage themselves in playing on the swings, the slides, or even soccer, they are also inclined to construct different games that come out of their pure imagination. For instance, I have seen my two children playing catch-me-while-I-run. The older goes on all four, and pretends to be a horse, while the younger one runs all over trying to runaway from the “horse”. This is just an example of one game. There are many others like this. When children are in a group, they come up with different ideas, and use them all at the same time. This also builds up a great teamwork!

6. They have strong awareness and observation skills.

Because they experience nature everyday, they are prone to observe everything around them. Your little one will notice a tiny insect that you are unaware of. They are aware of the whole natural world around them. They are not enclosed to a room. They have a vast canvas, where they can paint their own art with their surroundings. It helps them discover new things everyday, and helps them develop their own individualism.

7. They love and respect nature.

I have seen young children, who would stamp on the little flowers at first, or pluck a leaf and throw it away. Then, I have seen the parents of these children train them how not to destroy such things. I have also trained my children by telling them that the flowers and the leaves would get hurt if you stamp or pluck it. They never did such things anyways. Rather, they would make sure they don’t step on a flower, even if it’s a wild one. Young children not only have love for these natural things, but also care deeply for the animals, insects, birds around them. These children will nurse a wounded bird, pet a lamb, and play with their neighbor’s dog.

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8. They have healthier eating habits.

Take your children to an apple orchard, or a mandarin garden, and ask them to pick up the fruits and eat them. They will love it. If you have a vegetable garden, ask them to help you pick up those veggies. They will also love that. These habits lead to healthier eating habits. They see the beautiful bright colored food, and they imagine those to be equally beautiful to eat. There is pride in eating something which they have picked with their own hands!

9. They are less likely to suffer from nearsightedness.

We have always heard our previous generations say that if we look at all the trees, grass, flowers, and everything green, we will never have to wear glasses. Well, it is somewhat true. Children who spend time outdoors are less likely to suffer from nearsightedness. It is because when children stay indoors, all they do is spend time watching television, or play on their tablet. These activities put pressure on their eyes. Whereas, when they are outside, their eyes relax, along with their minds.

10. They are a happy bunch!

I have to take my children outside everyday. Whenever they are stuck a home due to bad weather, they would look outside the window, and have faces just as gloomy as the weather. Once they are out, they refuse to come back inside, even after two hours of non-stop playing. Why? Because when they are outside, they are themselves – carefree, wild, laughing, jumping, playing, yelling, the list goes on. They are happy! This is also because there isn’t as many activities inside. Staying inside for long periods can actually lead to anxiety and depression.

Conclusion

There’s no end to the enjoyment a child gets from the freedom of spending time outdoors. Let them run wild with their imagination. Let them amuse themselves. Let them build their future with sticks and stones.

They will turn out to be the smarter, the happier, and the healthier ones!

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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