Since lockdown began back in March, most of us have a renewed appreciation for spending time outside. When the opportunity to be free to be outside whenever wanted was taken away from us we began to miss the freedom and crave the outdoors. As the saying goes “You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone”.
Our friends at Little Sprouts Forest School have shared with us some great thoughts about why outdoor time is so important to us. . .
Why do my family need outdoor time?
With remarkable advancements in technology and a societal shift in how we use new technology, there isn’t much that I can’t do from my iPhone… and I love it! I can do the food shop, catch up with friends, work, check the weather and connect- all from the comfort of my screen. So, the only question left to ask is… what are the supposed benefits of spending our precious time outdoors?
Over the years, almost all areas of living standards have been steadily improving, however this is sharply contrasted by several studies that state cases of childhood obesity and depression are at a record high! This is paired with the fact that across the western world, children are spending less and less time outside.
Just how bad can this shift from the outdoors to the indoors be? Well, three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, according to a survey revealing the extent to which time playing in parks, wood and fields has shrunk. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found.
So, we know that we aren’t spending enough time outdoors, but what are the benefits?
Playing outdoors can improve critical thinking. It has also been proven that more playtime in green spaces can improve a child’s ability to focus in the classroom. This is true of adults too, who experience an increased sense of focus after spending time outdoors.
Studies find that spending time outdoors can improve overall fitness levels, raise Vitamin D levels, lower heart rates and lower cortisol levels (the hormone linked to stress). It has also been found that children who spend more time outdoors have improved motor abilities and are less likely to develop myopia (nearsightedness)
Scientific research has shown that spending time outdoors provides spiritual benefits, specifically as it relates to fostering connectedness with self and others. Studies found that when children become familiar with their outdoor surroundings they become “participatory” and “responsible” caretakers of nature.
For more information on the great outdoors, visit our facebook page:
Look out for our Nurture Natter Podcast coming out in July in which we caught up with Chris and Elena from Little Sprouts to explore this subject further.