Four Benefits of Playing Outside

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Kids, turn off your cell phone. Unplug the video game controller and TV.

Head outside to play. It will benefit you more than you realize. Parents, it’s a big world out there and there are numerous reasons that playing outside can benefit your children.

Outside play has steadily declined for several decades for a variety of reasons, including more parents working, structured activities like after school, daycare, play dates, the popularity of electronic entertainment, and concerns about safety. But numerous studies have shown that outside play has many physical and mental benefits for children.

Here are four crucial ones:

1.       Exercise improves their health

Children should get at minimum an hour of exercise each day and doing it outside is a good way to ensure that it happens. Being outdoors encourages active play, so send them out with a ball, jump rope, skate, bike … anything that will get them moving.

Kids who are active take a huge step against developing childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease, which can hinder them as teens and complicate their health even more as adults.

2.       They develop socially and emotionally

When children are outside on their own, they have the opportunity to organize their own games and settle disagreements, which involves cooperation and looking at the perspective of others. They’re not turning toward a parent or a referee for a ruling.

It can also help them build friendships, which can develop behaviors like helping and sharing. Those friendships made when playing outside can be important for a child’s overall long-term happiness. Physical activity is linked to overall well-being and can act as a buffer against depression.

3.       Sunshine is good for their health

Our bodies need sunshine for several reasons, and the biggest is that it helps manufacture vitamin D. It plays a crucial role in bone development, improving your immune system and nervous system.

Getting sunshine every day also improves your mood. Our bodies work best when they’re exposed to sunlight routinely.

4.       They become more engaged in learning 

Playing outside promotes a child’s curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Studies have found that children who spent more time exploring nature had improved learning outcomes.

They’re often forced to create their own activities or games when they’re outside playing. Some days that might be among four friends, for instance, and other days may be solo sessions. Their curiosity could be sparked by a wide range of situations they’re exposed to and lead to wanting to learn more. That could be about all kinds of subjects – science, sports, nature, weather, etc. If they’re thinking and being creative outside, it most certainly will spill into their schoolwork.
For any of your children’s healthcare needs, the professionals at StarMed Healthcare are always here to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. We’re open 365 days a year, with walk-ins welcome. To find a location near you, visit starmed.care/locations/