10 Health Benefits of Nature For Children (and Adults!)

I originally posted this a few years ago, but thought it would be fitting to post again since I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot lately! I hope you enjoy!
According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average child today spends 7 minutes outside and 7 hours in front of electronic media. Oh my goodness. Is this hard to believe? Not really, but its very powerful to see in black and white. NWF goes on to say that only a quarter of today’s children play outside daily while just a generation ago three quarters of children played outside daily. This is so scary. No wonder childhood obesity is such an issue in this country. NWF also says that by the time a child enters kindergarten, they’ve watched over 5,000 hours of television! What an epidemic! Most people know from experience that being outside is calming, therapeutic, and just plain fun! God designed us to be a part of nature and its no wonder our children are getting sicker and more depressed simply because they don’t spend enough time in His creation. Here are several health benefits from spending time outdoors (taken from here):
  1. Stronger bones and lower cancer risk: Today’s “indoor kids” don’t get enough sun and are becoming Vitamin D deficient, causing health risks.
  2. Trimmer and more healthy kids: An hour of play a day is what doctors say is a basic tool in the effort to ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.
  3. Improved eyesight: Recent studies find that kids who get outdoor time have less nearsightedness and need for eye glasses.
  4. Less depression and hyperactivity: Outdoor time in natural setting (even tree-lined streets) soothes kids and lower their need for medications.
  5. Longer attention spans: Children who stare at TV and video games all day have less patience and shorter attention spans.
  6. Better at making friends: Children playing together outdoors relate directly with one another, create games together, choose sides and improve their “people” skills.
  7. More creative: Outdoor kids are more likely to use their own imaginations, inventions and creativity while playing.
  8.  Less “acting out” at home and school: Getting kids away from TV violence and video games helps them see that violent behavior does not always solve problems.
  9. Measurably better grades in school: The healthy bodies and minds that come with outdoor play are better able to do well in school.
  10. A longer lifespan and healthier adult life: Doctors estimate that sedentary and obese children lose three to five years from their life expectancy.

 I know I feel so much calmer and happier when I’m outdoors. In fact, we are leaving for a camping trip in a few hours and I’m so excited to get away with my family! I hope this inspires you to get out and enjoy God’s creation this weekend!

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