Why You and Your Child Should Be Outside Right Now

“Mom, can I get just ten more minutes, puhleassssse? I just found a port-a-fort!”

If you’ve been hearing this request lately, you’re not alone. Video games, like Fortnite, have captured young minds across the world, prompting kids to stay indoors glued to their flat-screens.

While playing video games are fine in moderation, we have a major epidemic today. Kids barely want to be outdoors.

The typical American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.

family outside in nature | way to boost your family's happiness

To help your child become the best version of themselves, it is important to get them outdoors. Trekking through forest preserves or even just a brisk daily walk through a vibrant, tree-lined neighborhood can work wonders.

For sanity’s sake, and to maintain our energy levels, it is especially important for mothers too.

Spending a minimum of two hours a week in nature is crucial in promoting positive health and well-being, according to new research.

The European Center for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter, located in the UK, published in Scientific Research that “people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well-being than those who don’t visit nature at all during an average week.”

On the other hand, no benefits were discovered for individuals who “spent time in natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.”

“It’s well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough. The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing. Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit,” states Mat White, M.D. of University of Exeter Medical School.

The study even went as far as to suggest that health practitioners should be advising their patients to spend at least two hours a week in nature to promote positive health, just as they do for exercise.

There are numerous studies that show nature can increase energy, relieve stress, encourage exercise, and help alleviate mental illness.

Nature is serene, affordable, and more accessible than commercial medicine.

And, I’m sure you’ll agree that walking under green majestic tree canopies brings you more joy than staring at a living room floor overwhelmed with toys and the rat-a-tat of a video game in the next room.

Nature is my happy place. It is the one place where I can spend a short amount of time and get instant positive results. In nature, my spirits are instantly lifted. It is where life’s worries seem to melt away.

You don’t need to do anything strenuous, even just a simple walk on a tree-lined path can help you adjust your perspective and mood.

Spending time outside surrounded by trees and greenery helps our little ones too.

Children who spend more time in nature are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend most of their time indoors.

In this ever-changing world, our society would truly benefit by spending their precious time breathing in fresh air and basking in the great outdoors.

More green space is even linked to less stress in deprived communities.

Bottom line, all research evidence points to nature being the ultimate medicine for positive well-being and sound health.

So, slap on your sneakers, grab your children, and get outdoors!

You’ll feel 100 x better and you can show those rugrats what a real fort looks like.

Where are your favorite places to explore outdoors?

mom and children spending time in nature

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Author: Brandi Wiatrak

Hey, Mama! I'm Violet's mom and Chris' step-mama, Brandi. This space is a peek into my cold-brew fueled life navigating motherhood and the world. With brutal honesty, humor, and sarcasm, I talk about the joys (and sucks) of parenting, ways to live a simple & sane life, and awesome adventures to embark on with your family. Come aboard my crazy train! Wine and Gerber Puffs included.

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