Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5 Benefits of Outdoor Exercise for Your Children

It goes without saying that outdoor exercise and play are extremely advantageous pursuits for growing kids. Physical activities outdoors have many benefits for your kids that will carry into adulthood, forming healthy habits, healthy minds and healthy bodies.


Kids that spend all their time indoors and being inactive are far more likely to have trouble with weight, physical and mental health and energy levels. Getting kids outdoors and regularly engaging in activities that require physical exercise will help them increase their fitness levels. They’ll build muscle, burn fat and improve their cardiovascular health too. Sports and games are the ideal way to turn fitness into fun, giving kids a workout that’s enjoyable and exciting. Physical activity will lead to better fitness levels and develop healthy habits when it comes to getting regular exercise.

Stress Reduction

Health and fitness professionals from many differing fields agree that outdoor activity reduces stress levels in children. Staying pent up inside all day, whether it’s in the classroom, in front of a TV or playing with electronics, can cause real health concerns, including increased stress levels. Getting kids outdoors and physically active lets kids engage with the wider world, work out their pent up energy, and gain perspective, opening their senses to the natural world and developing a connection with their physical environment, both external and internal.

Engaging the Senses

Allowing young children to explore the natural world helps to develop their perceptual abilities. Time spent indoors limits the range of stimuli they get to experience, while getting kids outdoors means they get to experience lots of engaging and stimulating new sights, sounds, smells, textures – all sorts of sensations that help them learn and develop. This kind of interaction helps them learn about the world they live in and develop a connection with their natural environment; a connection that they can cherish into adulthood. Some sports can also help develop physical skills like flexibility and coordination. Learning to ride a Merida bike or catching a football are great ways to help young kids develop important abilities.

Letting Off Steam

Kids, naturally, have lots of energy, far more than most adults, and that energy needs to go somewhere. Getting kids active outside gives them a chance to let off some steam and burn all that energy in an environment that lends itself to vigorous play and exercise. Running around outside means less hazards and less things to break, and making lots of noise outdoors is much less disruptive. Getting outside for some action and excitement means kids will get rid of their energy at the appropriate time, meaning they’re not trying to expend that energy at a time or place that’s not appropriate. It should also mean they settle down for bed much more easily and get a much better night’s sleep. Their levels of concentration and focus will also improve.

Social Development

Outdoor sports and games create lots of opportunities for kids to make friends and play with others. Team sports are a great way to help kids develop bonds and learn teamwork. Playing at a local park (with adult supervision, of course) can also be a great way to make neighbourhood friends. The unstructured setting of an outdoor play area can be much more relaxed for children and encourage interaction without any pressure or expectations, which can be especially advantageous for shy kids or kids who might have trouble behaving in a classroom. The benefits of outdoor exercise for kids run deep and it’s not just the children reaping the benefits, all of these advantages benefit parents too. Some outdoor play time will help you bond with your kids and develop healthy habits for you too.

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