We love plants, gardens and being outside and the bush is best of all!
Now I don’t need to read a million scientific reports to know that being outside amongst nature is good for my own and my family’s mental and physical health… I just need to go for a bush walk and see how much better we all feel.
But in fact, there is a lot of research these days on nature and we human beings and some of it is really fascinating. Listen up, especially if you have kids with ADHD or ASD.
Ten Reasons The Bush Is Good For Your Health
1. Eyesight: outdoor play can influence eyesight; high levels of time outside is associated with reduced levels of short sightedness.
2. Development: natural environments, like playing in the bush, provide great variety of sights, sounds, smells and textures, all stimulating in themselves and good for kids’ development.
3, Physical development: the variety and the diversity of the bush means that children have to use more balance and body coordination, things are not stable and predictable, they need to use their bodies and brains more than they do in constructed environments.
4. Health: sunshine promotes synthesis of Vitamin D, needed for strong bones and muscles and for general health.
5. Stress: stress levels are reduced in children who live close to nature, and the effect is stronger as the level of stress increases. Children who go to schools which have more natural surrounds eg a wooded play area also show lower levels of stress.
6. Play: play in nature, particularly in wild nature, promotes more creative, social and imaginative play amongst children.
7. Cognition: living in a house beside a natural area has been shown to improve cognitive function in children.
8. ADHD: the greener a child’s play area, the less his or her symptoms of ADHD. Children concentrate better after a 20-minute walk in nature than a 20-minute walk in an urban setting.
9. Obesity: a US study found children living in greener envonments have lower BMI scores than children in less green spaces. In a Melbourne study, Children who spent more time outdoors have lower BMI than children who spend less time outdoors.
10. Empathy: direct interaction with nature promotes empathy in children, and children who experience wild nature eg through hiking and camping, tend to have more care for the environment throughout life.
Duh! We knew all that!!
But it’s always good to find that scientific studies support what we parents have seen for ourselves.
I know my children have all been delighted to run wild with nothing but sticks, bushes, trees and earth to play with. Lots of mud has been made, no eyes have been poked out (as yet) and no bones have been broken.
I want them to know the freedom of running wild, and they do… not nearly as much as I’d like really, but there’s been lots of fresh air in their lives and lots of nature. Long may that last.
And being honest, they also spend loads and loads of time in front of screens and so do I. And it’s much harder to get the teenagers out and about; I do wish they were surfers.
Have you climbed a tree recently?
Shall we head out to the bush together and start now?