5 Reasons to Get Outside Each Day

By Kathryn Trudeau



By Kathryn Trudeau

During the summer, it’s easy to find ways to spend time outside: barbeques, picnics, afternoons spent at the playground, beach trips, and lazy days at the pool. But when school starts and the schedules get hectic, it’s harder to find spare time to spend in nature.


Even though the school year may be hectic, it’s still just as important as ever to prioritize a little outside time each day. 


Below, we cover five reasons to get outside each day.

1.Brain Benefits

There are many ways you can support your (and your child’s) brain health:

  • Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Getting plenty of good sleep
  • Doing puzzles 

Those aren’t your only options, though. Spending time outside can have a tremendous impact on your brain. 


Different studies have shown that time spent outside (even just walking around the block) can lead to these brain benefits: 

  1. Improved short-term memory: Researchers from the University of Michigan found that a nature walk can improve short-term memory by 20%!
  2. Improved mental wellness: Multiple studies report that time spent in nature can support mental wellness, reduce feelings of anxiety, and calm the mind.
  3. Improved mental clarity: The great outdoors also provides time to clear your head and get away from some of the loudness of life.

2. Improved Creativity 

 

Not only does time spent outside boost your mental clarity and support your short-term memory, but nature also boosts creativity. According to another study, time spent in nature supports creative thinking processes. 

3.Healthier eyes

Although your children will need to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes outside, the reality is that time in nature may actually help your child’s eyes. 


Several different studies, including an Australian study and one Taiwanese study, found that children who played outside more often were less likely to develop myopia, or nearsightedness. 

4.Stress Relief

 

Who doesn’t need a little stress management? Adults and kids alike benefit from stress relief techniques, and — you guessed it — spending time outside is one of those techniques.


When you spend time in nature (not a busy cityscape), your body:

  • Produces less cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Has a lower heart rate

So, the next time you’re having a bad day, head for the forest (or a park) for a peaceful walk.

5. You’ll Sleep Better

By Kathryn Trudeau


Perhaps a parent’s number one reason to encourage outside playtime: spending time outside promotes better sleep!


Spending time outside (especially in the morning light) regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. This means it’s easier for your child to fall asleep at night. 

Tips for Increasing Outside Time

 

Spending time outside doesn’t require extensive planning for a trip to a National Park (although that’s fun too!) Here are a few ideas to sneak more outside time into your day (and your child’s day). 

  1. Start the day with breakfast on the patio or deck
  2. If you have a dog, bring your kids along for a dog walk after dinner
  3. Schedule some outside playtime immediately after school 
  4. If your child is at home with you during the day, consider making snack time an outside activity
  5. Do homework (or even study) in the backyard 

What is your favorite way to sneak in more outside time into your child’s day?

 

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