According to an article on the U.S. News and World Report website, a new research study suggests that children with more exposure to nature in the first ten years of their lives helps improve lung function. The study included approximately 3,300 child participants. Each child took a lung function test. The researchers then studied how close each child’s home was to surrounding vegetation including parks, gardens, and green spaces.
Researcher Diogo Queiroz Almeida was quoted saying, “Our research suggests the greener, the better…if we look at the whole population, making our neighborhoods greener could have a considerable impact…We looked at factors like physical activity and air pollution, but the link between lung function and moving closer to green space remained, even after we took these into account…It could also be that getting closer to nature reduces stress, which can improve physical health, or it might have a positive effect on children’s microbiome — the community of different bacteria that live in our bodies” 1.
Whatever the reasoning may be, it is agreeable that nature is good for people. According to the Child Mind Institute website, spending time outdoors is beneficial by building confidence, promoting creativity and imagination, teaching responsibility, providing stimulation, getting more movement, and reducing stress 2.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play and more than seven hours a day in front of electronics. They believe that getting outdoors benefits the body, mind, and spirit 3.
Getting outdoors in nature will be beneficial to your whole family. Use the following tips and ideas to get your family motivated to spend time outdoors.
- Plan a picnic in your backyard or at a local park
- Have a playdate with your friends and meet up at a local playground
- Visit a local farm
- Go swimming
- Plan a trip to the beach or lake
- Go horseback riding
- Get involved in sports
- Go to a festival or local outdoor event
- Go hiking
- Take a bike ride
- Getting kids out in nature boosts lung health, study finds. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2022
- Why kids need to spend time in nature. Child Mind Institute. (2021, September 21). Retrieved July 27, 2022
- Health benefits and tips. National Wildlife Federation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2022
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