We’ve been sharing tips, recently, about ideas for taking your children outdoors. You can read some of those articles here, here and here. In addition to spending invaluable time with your children – which does them and you a world of good – doing so outdoors is an incredible way to stimulate and invigorate everyone, both mentally and physically.
We’ll talk about it in this issue.
Is there any scientific proof that being around nature benefits our health?
There is abundant evidence clearly illustrating the mental and physical benefits of being outdoors. A recent article from Business Insider does a good job of presenting the most compelling evidence.
- Being outdoors is good for the mind.
A study carried out by the University of Michigan found that short walks around an arboretum boosted short-term memory by 20%. A memory test preceded the division of participants into small groups. While one group walked around a city block, the other walked around an arboretum. Both groups took part in the same test afterward. Those who took the scenic route among the trees did 20% better on their tests, while the others showed no consistent improvement.
Another study showed that simple walks in nature are also good for fighting depression and is good for decreasing heart rates and levels of cortisol – which is a hormone we measure for stress.
- Being outdoors is good for our vision.
Conducted in Taiwan, this study investigated the ways in which outdoor activities for elementary school students (aged 7-11) at two schools where myopia (nearsightedness) is common. While one school encouraged outdoor activity during recess, the other school simply did what they normally do. After one year, the rate of myopia at the test school was 8.41% while the “business as usual” school experienced a 17.65% rate of myopia.
- Being outdoors helps you focus.
During a study, researchers did what they could to reduce the participants’ ability to focus. Afterward, one group went for a walk in a nature park, others walked along a city street and the third group just chilled. Afterward, the group that walked in a nature park that scored best on a proofreading test.
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