Being outdoors has been proven to have positive impact on our mental health. By only taking one walk our brain can experience immediate positive impact. If you choose to walk for about 90 minutes in a natural environment every day, you can experience low levels of rumination or “brooding”. There is more than one study which has showed that the subgenual prefrontal cortex had less blood flow and reduced neural activity. This is actually the area of the brain that relates to mental illnesses.
According some psychologists findings, creative problem solving can be drastically improved in two ways. Those are disconnecting from the technology and by reconnecting with nature. Living in big cities can expose people to urban noises. When you connect this with technology, it can also be disruptive to our daily thinking. It is constantly demanding our attention and preventing us from focusing. All of this can be taxing to our cognitive functions. What can reduce mental fatigue is a nice long hike, as well as sans technology. This can also soothe the mind and boost the creative thinking.
In general, being outdoors presents a lot of benefits for our physical and psychological well – being. One practice in particular, which is known as “Earthing”, or “grounding” even encourages people to go barefoot in the grass. The logic that is behind grounding is based on the intense negative charge that is carried by the Earth. This is also an electronic – rich charge and it theoretically serves as a good supply of antioxidants. Walking barefoot on the ground can also enhance our health, as well as promote feelings of well – being. It is actually a concept that can be found in literatures and practices of different cultures all around the world.
Behind this, there is a tremendous amount of science and a lot of published research. For more information on that, the studies as well as how you can get grounded, please refer to the article named How To Absorb Earth’s Free Flowing Electrons Through The Soles of Your Feet.
Hiking is not something which is only beneficial for adults. It can also be for children who suffer from ADHD. The Study conducted by Frances E. PhD, as well as by Andrea Faber Taylor, has found that exposing children that suffer from ADHD to some “green outdoor activities” can reduce the symptoms significantly. The results from the research suggest that nature exposure can have a lot of benefits for anyone that has a difficult time paying attention, and/or exhibits impulsive behavior as well.
By being outdoors and playing in the dirt, a child of any behavior can also increase their immune system significantly. When a child is exposed to germs, the chances of building a strong immune system are increased.
Undoubtedly, technology also has its benefits. While we think that it is important and valuable that children nowadays are learning their ways around technology, as it can help them with future endeavours, the natural functions actually expose children and adults as well to a number of physical health risks. In addition to these findings, some other shocking statistics have shown that children are outside less than prison inmates.
With the help of a campaign named “Dirt Is Good,” UK based laundry detergent marketer Persil is actually letting us know just how dismissal things have gotten. There was a survey of 12,000 parents worldwide which revealed a number of shocking results, including, but not limited to:
- 74% of the youngsters are not allowed to spent even an hour outdoors;
- 62% of the parents believe that their children have less opportunities of being outdoors than they did when they were kids;
- 77% of the parents admitted that their children usually prefer to refuse to play games not featuring some form of technology;
- 75% of the parents report that their children prefer playing sports on a screen than the actual sport itself;
- 54% of them could not identify and oak tree, while 80% of them could identify Justin Bieber.
We think that we really don’t need more research in order to prove that being outside has a lot of benefits. But some new research has emerged that explains one surprising physical benefit that a child can actually receive when being outdoors.
Nearsightedness (Myopia) is rising
There was a study conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI), in order to display how prevalent myopia has become in the US. People were studied in 1971-1972 between the ages of 12-54 and found that only 25% of them were affected. Then again in 1999-2004, it was found that myopia has increased for 41.6%.
We can naturally come to a conclusion that the reason why more and more children are experiencing poor vision is because of the influx of technology, causing them to view objects closer than they actually should. Our parents were constantly saying to us that we needed to watch TV at a distance. But was there any true merit to this fear? Apparently, there was not. But, the habit of choosing indoor activity is a common theme nowadays.
There is also a hereditary factor. For instance, let’s say one child has two nearsighted parents. The likeliness of the child developing myopia is about 60% – if the time for activity outside is low. When you couple genetic disposition with long periods of time spent indoors, it is likely your child will develop myopia. It is also becoming very clear that a healthy balance is required. In that way, your child can truly have an advantageous life in regard to its sight.
The dean of the College of Optometry at The Ohio State University named Karla Zadnik, as well as the professor of optometry at The Ohio State University named Don Mutti wrote a piece highlighting their belief. It was also supported by their research on the conversation that children who play outside have less chances of developing myopia.
If a child spends around 14 hours per week outdoors, it can practically neutralize the genetic risk of needing glasses by about 20%. It will bring them to the fair chance of a child that has not nearsighted parents.
- Children may also exercise more when they are outdoors and that exercise is somehow in a way protective;
- When there is more ultraviolet B radiation from the sun, it makes more circulating vitamin D. In some ways it prevents abnormal childhood eye growth and myopia onset;
- The light itself shows abnormal myopic eye growth and that outdoors, light is juts simply brighter.
The dominant theory is that brighter light outside stimulates a release of dopamine from some specialized cells which are in the retina. Then, dopamine initiates a molecular signaling cascade which ends with slower, as well as normal growth of the eye. It means no myopia. Some evidence from the work of the researchers and from animal models indicate that it is the actual light exposure. As children are outdoors, that may work the magic.
Children usually thrive when they are exposed to the outdoors. They also exercise their creativity and physical bodies. When we are ruling from the backseat of their lives, some other factors will come in and will parent for us. You should play an active role in the life of your child. Furthermore. you should also limit their screen time and promote some outdoor activities. The responsibility of a parent is to truly know what is best for ensuring optimal development and awareness of their children, who live and breathe in their home.