Spending two hours a week in natural environments will make you 60% more likely to be in good health, according to a 2019 paper published in the journal Nature. It boosts well-being, with considerable health benefits too: green spaces are linked to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma.
Friluftsliv is a Norwegian term that translates to “open air living”, it encourages outdoor adventures for all ages, in any weather condition. It is not just for hard-core athletes and intrepid explorers. Friluftsliv can also mean long strolls with friends, picnics, a leisurely afternoon bike ride, or walking the dog on a chilly morning.
Researchers also agree that kids who play outside are happier, better at paying attention and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. Nature-based learning and education improve a child’s academic performance and critical thinking.
According to Harvard Medical School, playing outside helps children in six crucial ways:
- Sunshine increases the levels of vitamin D. This strengthens the immune system and encourages bone development.
- Exercising more will be a natural consequence of being outside, as it encourages active play.
- Kids develop and practice important life skills during unstructured time: prioritising, problem-solving, multitasking, negotiating and being creative.
- Taking risks is an important part of childhood, together with going beyond their limits.
- Socialising with other kids, working together and making new friends. They need time to make up games, figure things out and amuse themselves.
- Appreciating nature: experiencing nature and seeing its diversity will help children understand that it needs to be protected and respected.
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