Mums for centuries have told their kids to get outside and get some fresh air, but why is it so important? Do they just want the kids out from under their feet or is there real benefit to it?
The answer is yes! According to a study by The American Academy of Paediatrics, children who spend time outside demonstrate longer attention spans, perform better at school, and get measurably higher grades. Children who play outside in fresh air and sunlight have improved people skills, as outdoor play enables them to relate to each other and to use their imaginations to play, expanding their creative thinking.
Playing outside also provides many physical benefits. It’s more demanding on the body than indoor play, so it improves fitness, decreasing a child’s risk of diabetes and childhood obesity. Kids who spend time outside are also more likely to get their daily dose of Vitamin D, which the body synthesizes from sunlight (even in winter), and increases bone strength and decreases the risk of certain cancers.
A study by Cambridge University Scientists suggests that kids who get outdoor time have better eyesight, with less near-sightedness and less need for glasses. They also found that outdoor time soothes kids and lowers the need for medication for depression and hyperactivity.
The World Health Organisation tells us that we spend too much time indoors – on average a staggering 90% of our time. Indoor air becomes stale, especially in winter, and can spread colds and other illnesses, whereas fresh air gives us the levels of oxygen we need to keep cells healthy, our lungs clean, and our skin blooming.
So, yes, there are benefits to getting fresh air, keep telling your kids to get out there and get some! Wrap them up warm and go for walks after a meal, or send them out for half an hour to play in the garden and know that you are helping to keep them healthy!