> Move and Groove
Take your exercise outside!
We all know that kids love being active and that being active makes kids happy. And you’ve probably seen how grumpy kids can instantly go from grizzle to delight in a mere moment just by stepping outside. And now the studies are in to prove what you already knew about kids and the great outdoors!
A recent report from Planet Ark summarised a body of local and international research linking childhood contact with nature with a range of health and wellbeing benefits, including:
- Positive mental health outcomes, such as reduced symptoms and severity of ADHD, reduced stress levels, reduced depression, and increased confidence and self esteem;
- Physical health benefits, such as reduced risks of obesity and myopia, improved balance and coordination, and improved recovery from certain medical conditions;
- Enhanced intellectual development, such as improved creativity and imagination, and improved academic performance.
Combining these with what we know about kids needing physical activity and heading outside for exercise seems like a terrific idea. And the icing on the cake for outdoor activity is that kids who are more active when young develop fewer health problems and kids who spend time outside grow into adults with a stronger sense of concern and care for the environment. Good for now, good for the future!
How To Do It
There are loads of ways to be active in the outdoors, even if you don’t have a big outdoor area to play in:
- Take your music outside and dance in the garden
- Take those old-school activities outside (we mean the ones you did when you were a kid) such as hopscotch, skipping, cartwheels or Frisbee. Or take those bouncy balls outside, ride your bikes or run races. We’re sure your kids will think of more!
- Jump on the shadows! Create a course through the yard that follows the shadows. Stepping on the sunlight means you have to start again.
- Similarly, create an obstacle course through the yard that kids have to climb through, run along, balance on and tunnel through.
- Pretend you’re a kangaroo or a bird and bounce or swoop around the garden. Look for things to eat, friends to ‘boing’ or fly with and places to rest in the shade.
- Do some digging and plant a garden.
- Play follow the leader, but use an insect as your leader!
- In your time outside you will come across bugs, slugs, creepy crawlies, birds, and maybe lizards and larger animals. Record what you see and try to identify them.
- Can any of these activities become a part of your regular routine? Can you take music and dancing outside regularly? Or can you turn Frisbee or Catch into a regular activity?
What’s Our Impact?
Spend time in nature running, climbing trees and getting dirty, or sitting quietly in the natural world around you. Just spending one hour outdoors instead of in the classroom will save you both gas and electricity!
- CO2E (weekly) 5.57
- CO2E (annual) 230
- Black balloons (weekly) 69
- Black balloons (annual) 2773
According to a recent study, only one in ten children play outside once a week or less, and only 35% of children play outside every day compared to 72% of their parents.
Research has shown a link between body mass index (BMI) scores in children and their access to ‘green’ areas and levels of outdoor play. BMI is often used by health authorities and researchers to indicate healthy weight ranges.
Physical activity should not be mistaken for sport: physical activity is any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that uses energy. This includes sports, exercise and other activities such as playing, walking, doing household chores, gardening and dancing.