1. Greener = Slimmer
As the days grow warmer and the kids have more free time, make sure you take an important step to protect their health—send them out to play.
Encouraging children to play outdoors may increase their physical activity levels and decrease their risk of being overweight. Rates of childhood and adult obesity and related conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, have grown at astonishing rates in recent years, partly because of reduced outdoor activity time. And research shows that greener neighborhoods mean slimmer and healthier children.
2. Relieve Stress Naturally
According to research at Cornell University, access to nature, even if it’s only houseplants, can help children cope with stress and adversity. Children who play outside every day are able to release tension and have a means to explore ideas and emotions.
3. Get Some Focus
Researchers have reported that contact with nature can enhance mood, concentration and problem solving especially for patients with ADHD. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, “exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.
”Scientists found that ADHD patients who participate in green activities—such as nature walks—help them keep their focus and complete tasks. A 20-minute stroll in the park is enough to improve attention.
4. Chase Those Blues Away
Major depression requires medical treatment, but physical activity, especially outdoors, can help ease many symptoms. For your average case of winter blues, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests spending time outside every day and, if possible, taking the family to a sunny vacation spot in mid-winter.
5. Give the Immune System a Boost
Basking under the sun for just a few minutes a day can help supply immune boosting and bone-building vitamin D. There may be emotional benefits as well that boost immunity. Just having a view of nature has been shown to improve hospital patients’ recovery and reduce illness rates among office workers and prison inmates.
Besides getting a glimpse of scenic views, exposure to farms and wildlife, horseback riding, hiking and camping can also be therapeutic for a variety of health conditions in adults and children.
6. Break for Better Behavior
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that children who had at least 15 minutes of recess a day scored better on teachers’ behavioral ratings than those children who did not have a break. Kids need a break during the day to run around and release energy before turning back to the books.
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