Playing outside used to be the norm. Today, children spend most of their free time in front of a screen of some sort. Generally, they go outdoors only for organised sports or activities (which are often completely driven by parent involvement).
What do they miss? Not just fresh air!
The outdoors is where people interact with the world around. We are all part of this earth, of sunshine, wind, rain, soil, mud, water, trees, flowers, birds and beasts. Our bodies are made up of the same physical substance that has been recycling in this earth since it was all created. We need them all for a healthy life.
It’s one thing to grow a geranium in a pot, but quite another to see wildflowers in a mud patch. No virtual app can mirror the actual feel and look of pond slime, tadpoles changing into frogs, leaves into humus – a world of growth and change!
Instead of lounging in front of a screen or hunching over a game, your kids could be running, calling, hiding, seeking, climbing, cycling, skating, learning how to negotiate obstacles both physical and mental.
Having quarrels, learning when and how to react, how to deal with bullies, how to cultivate friendship and loyalty, sharing rather than a gimme mentality, keeping your cool when things don’t go the way you expected – these are part of the right kind of social interactions that come when a bunch of kids plays outside.
Caution, not fear
They learn to stand on their own feet and yet know you’re the right distance away, in case something comes along too big for them to handle. They learn to be watchful, to know if something is not right or downright dangerous, but not timid or fearful. These are big healthy lessons for real-time living that come with good old-fashioned outdoors play.
Playing in winter, spring, summer and autumn with all the varying conditions it brings is another immense advantage of outdoors play. Kids learn how to adjust to hot or cold, wet or dry, and become immune to ordinary dirt, bacteria and pests. Children’s growing brain becomes attuned to the circadian rhythms of their bodies, helping them wake and sleep, work and eat, in seamless harmony.
Skin exposed to the sunlight of outdoors becomes a chemical factory, producing vitamin D which helps strengthen bones with rich calcium. Outdoor play builds protein into muscle. This will lower future risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis, to name just a few.
Outdoors time also releases stress. Active outdoors play releases pent-up energy which in turn gives you a happier, more peaceful child. You may find he is more able to pay attention to his work. A happy mood and directed curiosity also results from outdoors play, which protects him from the blues as well.
So let’s make sure our children enjoy what we had. Take your kids along with the neighbourhood pack, to the park or on a hike, trail walking, a day at the lake, whatever. Your kids will grow up happier, healthier and better for it!
Call us for an appointment if your child has any issues around movement, fitness, or other physical ability – or even ideas around how to get them more active.
Stand up and walk around every time you make a phone call. Break up your extended sitting periods.
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
Funny thought of the day
Your alarm clock sound is pretty much a personal TV show intro music to your daily life.