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Benefits of Outdoor Play and Wellness

Studies show that kids today spend, at best, anywhere from 70% to 50% of the time we did outdoors. As a nation, we gave ourselves a D- on our US Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth with more than ¾ of our kids failing to get the minimum required daily physical activity.

Worse yet, the increase in sedentary, indoor lifestyles coincides with increases in many chronic childhood health conditions, including childhood obesity, asthma, ADD and vitamin D deficiency.

But There's Some Good News!

While alarming trends continue to increase, the evidence that playing outdoors directly benefits health continues to mount. We just have to increase awareness!

Here are just a few of the benefits of outdoor play:

• Play: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), play allows kids to develop cognitively, emotionally and physically

• Kids who spend more time outdoors are more physically active, and there is no shortage of research that physical activity drives positive health outcomes.

• “To be healthy, children need several hours (not minutes!) of movement a day — preferably outdoors, where the senses are fully alive and their bodies are free to move in many different ways.” —Angela Hanscom

• Time spent in natural settings also contributes to healthy sleep patterns in babies, toddlers and kids. And proper sleep drives all kinds of beneficial health outcomes.

• Nature and play lower stress. Time spent in natural settings is restorative and reduces anxiety for kids and for adults. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of stress and stress hormones. Plus, parents who have less stress can provide a more supportive environment for kids.


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