A recent visit to our local park turned into a day of exploring a previously undiscovered (by us) bush track along the river, complete with swimming holes, waterfalls and a ‘wibbly wobbly’ bridge.
Once we started meandering, just couldn’t stop! We soon had to leave the pram wedged between bushes for this little ‘off road’ adventure, as our curiosity kept driving us forward, the kids wildly excited at every turn.
Rope swings over the river and standing barefoot in fresh water as the boys lost themselves in the simple pleasure of throwing stones into the shallows, the real world seemed a world away.
The highlight for Tyson was the discovery of the ‘wibbly wobbly’ bridge. He has talked about it every day since.
2 hours later we emerged. Tired, yet full of life! The boys hadn’t been bored for even a second and boy, did they sleep like little angels that night. It felt like we’d done something really important and a bit of googling proved me right!
1. In a study at South Korea’s Chonnam National University, fMRI scans showed that when subjects saw images of mountains, forests, and other landscapes, they experienced heightened activity in the area of the brain linked to positive outlook and emotional stability and the part of the brain that’s been tied to the recollection of happy memories.
2. Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies in adults AND kids.
3. Another study (Wells, N.M. (2000). At Home with Nature: Effects of “greenness” on children’s cognitive functioning. Environment and Behavior (32), 6, pp 775-795) showed that children who are exposed to natural or outdoor settings receive benefits to their cognitive health, such as reduction of ADHD symptoms.
4. Nature makes you nicer! It’s true, according to this study (Study: Weinstein, N., Przybylski, A. K., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). “Can nature make us more caring? Effects of immersion in nature on intrinsic aspirations and generosity.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1315-1329.), spending time amongst nature enhances your social interactions, value for community and close relationships.
5. Being outdoors increases your disease fighting levels of Vitamin D (Study: American Academy of Pediatrics. “Many Children have suboptimal Vitamin D Levels,” Pediatrics. October 26, 2009.)
These holidays are the perfect opportunity to get your family outdoors and reap the health and wellbeing benefits for the rest of the year.
Read more: Nature’s Touch
Read more: Natural Wildlife Federation