The Benefits of Outdoor Walks for Young Children

Its half term here in Hertfordshire I am always looking for things to keep the children amused that don’t cost lots of money. It so important that I get them out into the fresh air and away from that Xbox (that I am slowly beginning to hate)

Look at any child these days and more often than not, you’ll catch them with a tablet in their hand and their eyes glued intently to the screen. Some may have not even experienced a playground. An article on The Guardian confirms this, citing a study that reveals more than one in nine children in England have not set foot in a park, forest, or any other natural environment for at least 12 months. This is shocking!

While technology has its benefits, there’s no virtual replacement for fresh air and the great outdoors. And as previously discussed on Mrs Mummypenny, we talked about the growing concerns that parents have over their children’s screen time. If you’re one of them, consider changing lifestyle habits and getting your children outside.

Going for a walk outdoors is one of the most underrated pleasures in life, and it comes with a wealth of benefits too.

It boosts mental health

In a 2010 study by UK researchers, it was found that just five minutes of physical activity in a green space can have a positive impact on mental health. Among the 1,250 people of different ages who were part of the analysis, it was young people who benefitted the most.

Sadly, Babble reveals that 75% of children in the UK today spend less time outside than prison inmates. It’s an unfortunate thought that so many kids are missing out on the calming and relaxing benefits of nature, which are also known to help with stress.

It encourages creativity

According to the Washington Post, playing outdoor can nurture the imagination. Children will be treated to a sensory experience – able to hear, smell, see, and feel things that they can’t from a computer. They will be much more aware of the outside world and will learn much more than just seeing things move on a screen.

It fosters relationships

Why not make your outdoor walk a family affair? It doesn’t just have to be a walk in the woods; even a short trip into town can be very beneficial. Walking outdoors together as a family can provide a great way for you to bond with your children outside of your home. If you’ve got more than one young child, iCandy recommends tandem pushchairs because they are easy to manoeuvre as they have the same width as a single pushchair. This is especially useful if you are walking in a location, like a park, with lots of other people around. As aforementioned, being outdoors will also spark their curiosity about the world, so get ready to put on your explorer hat and answer some questions.

It promotes health

It goes without saying that walking is a good form of exercise for any age. Walking will increase you children’s natural fitness and help with their posture. Yet there are also some additional benefits you may not know about. A Chinese study showed how just 40 minutes of outdoor activity can improve a child’s long distance vision. Don’t let the cold stop you either, as a winter walk will activate brown fat, which will burn more calories. No matter the weather make sure you and your children get outside.

 

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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