Outdoor education: the positive impact of the natural world on our health
In this article I would like to explore the positive impact of nature on our health, to show up how important outdoor education for children’ s well being is.
Researchers found out that exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being.
In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood and psychological well being, meaningfulness, and vitality. When in nature, what you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.
Being outside means being in movement. And we know how important this factor nowadays is, when our lifestyle is getting more and more sedentary and a considerable percentage of our pupils are suffering with obesity.
Today, there is a growing body of research that suggests outdoor play time can lower a child's risk of developing myopia, at which root screens such as tablets and cell phones are, since they play a role in the deterioration of children's eye health.
If you are outside and the sun is shining, then your body will automatically starts creating vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. We need vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Being outside also helps reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones and the production of health-promoting hormones increases.
Furthermore, time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention. Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.
Already the Latins said “mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body), and only an healthy mind can be the premise for healthy citizens of the future. So I warmly recommend you to go outdoor with your children even if only for a walk!
Written by Sonia Simpatico – JUMP team