The importance of spending time outdoors and being physically active is more important for our Children than it has ever been before. The #1 health concern that parents have for their children today is childhood obesity. According the American Heart Association, one in three children is overweight or obese, a statistic that has tripled since 1971.
A contributor to obesity and one of the main reasons that children spend less time on Physical Activity is the rapidly growing trend of “screen time.” Young children can spend as much as 5-7 hours a day watching TV, playing video games, using the Internet or texting/chatting with friends online.
Of course being physically active is important for building strong healthy bodies, but there are other physical and mental benefits to playing outside regularly that you may not realize.
Physical Benefits of Playing Outside
- Helps in developing large and small motor skills
- Builds cardiovascular endurance
- Fresh air slows the spread of infections, especially important during the cold and flu season
- Improves sleep as outdoor light helps to set your internal clock, which leads to better sleep at night
- Improves distance vision and lowers chances of near sightedness
- Increases exposure to sunlight and vitamin D, which can help against bone issues, heart disease or diabetes
Mental Benefits of Playing Outside
- Allows them to recharge and release pent up energy after a long periods of learning, making for a better academic progress
- Reduces symptoms of inattentiveness or hyperactivity, keeping children alert
- Stress levels fall and good moods increase when children are exposed to green space
- Enhances social interaction and helps to develop relationships
The National Wildlife Federation outlines all the ways that outside play benefits children, both physically and mentally.
Encouraging Physical Activity in Your Own Backyard
It’s suggested that children get 60 mins of physical activity each day. Additionally, they should take part in a variety of activities that contribute to aerobic (heart and lung), muscle, and bone health.
Gym class, recess, and team sports can play a big role in building up to that 60 minutes per day. But there’s also a way to encourage physical activity for your children right in your own backyard. Using age-appropriate equipment, your backyard playset can be a great way for your children to get their daily dose of play time!
Through climbing, hanging, swinging and jumping your children are making great strides in building muscle strength. Try this swing set obstacle course which incorporates both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. Time each family member as they make their way through the course to see who wins!
Playset Obstacle Course
- Climb up a rock wall or cargo net and slide down the slide
- Weave your way in and out of the row of swings and other hanging apparatus
- Move across the monkey bars or do 3 pull ups on the hanging bars
- Jump on a swing then swing back and forth 10x
- Run two laps around the entire play structure
- Climb up a rock wall or cargo net and slide down the slide again
What other ways are you encouraging outside play with your children?
The post The Benefits of Playing Outside appeared first on Swing Kingdom.