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Whether you are a new mom of one or a veteran mama of four, fall is a season that speaks to us all. Cooler weather, colorful leaves, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches are calling your name this season, beckoning both you and the kids to get outdoors, experience the health benefits of walking in nature, go exploring, and find your next adventure!
From the islands of the Florida Keys to mountains of Washington State, there are fall activities everywhere, most happening in the great outdoors. With the kids being back in school, stuck indoors all week, there is no better way to spend your evenings or weekends than outside, taking a nature walk, soaking up the sun and enjoying some green before the snow falls…from the park in the center of the city to the towering trees of the forest, it is time to grab that PSL, load up the kids, and spend some time communing with nature.
If the glorious colors and crisp fall breezes aren’t enough to entice you outdoors, there are also a whole host of health benefits of walking in the great outdoors that you and your kids will experience from your adventures this season. Here are the top 3 reasons you should spend time outside this fall.
Physical Health Benefits of Walking & Playing Outdoors
We all know that getting outdoors is good for us. Not only does the sunshine and fresh air encourage exercise and physical activity, but studies show outdoor play actually prevents obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.
Unfortunately, the American lifestyle most of us are accustomed to does not support the requisite amount of outdoor play/exercise our bodies really need. Studies have shown that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, with today’s children spending an average of 6 hours a day in front of a screen or electronic device. It is no wonder that Americans are overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. While we may not realize the detriment to our own personal well-being of remaining inside and less than optimally active, the statistics documenting the rise in health problems throughout the country speak volumes.
Immersion in nature has been proven to positively benefit one’s health by:
- Boosting the immune system.
- Lowering blood pressure.
- Reducing stress.
- Improving one’s mood.
- Accelerating recovery from surgery or illness.
- Increasing energy levels.
- Improving sleep.
Outdoor adventures and exploration are key to a long and happy life for all ages, but the importance of outdoor play for children is particularly important to their long-term health and development. As parents, it is our responsibility to lead by example, so get up and out this fall for your physical well-being, and that of your kids.
Mental Health Benefits of Walking in the Sunshine
Dark and quiet leads to depression, light and laughter inspire joy. Another significant health benefit to getting outside this fall is the mental health factor. Now that the kids are spending more and more time indoors, staring at the same 4 walls of a classroom, evenings and weekends need to be used to recoup, regroup, and reenergize their little bodies, minds, and souls.
Time spent outdoors has been shown to lower rates of depression and anxiety in both adults and children. This makes sense since light, especially natural light, is considered a mood elevator capable of affecting one’s cognition and mood directly. Further, because of our bodies physiological responses to light based on our natural (or biological) circadian rhythm, light stimulates both our body and our brain releasing hormone and mood receptors responsible for keeping us alert.
Getting outdoors this fall will also help you and the kids soak up some sunshine, naturally promoting your body’s production of vitamin D which is essential to both your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, many Americans, both adults and children are severely lacking in vitamin D. While the main function of vitamin D in your body is to absorb calcium and promote bone growth, research suggests vitamin D may also:
- Lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
- Lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Reduce weight gain.
- Treat or prevent autism.
- Treat or prevent autoimmune disease, chronic pain, and diabetes.
Academic Performance Outcomes Associated with Outdoor Play
Time spent outdoors has been shown to improve the educational outcomes of and academic performance in children. Adults all know that sitting at a desk job is draining. Walking outdoors simply to grab a cup of joe from the nearest street vendor can work wonders on a day’s performance and production. Yet, as a society, we still opt to educate our children in a school system that not only encourages but demands sedentary tasks all done at a stationary desk. Further, children who cannot comport to this antiquated and ineffective method of education are deemed behavior problems, labeled as such and frequently medicated.
That said, as parents, most of us are stuck with the school system as it exists today and must find ways to help our children comply to the best of their abilities. A perfect way of doing this is to spend as much time outdoors as possible when not in school. Studies have shown that children with ADHD focus better, demonstrate better concentration and perform better on tests after being outdoors. Allowing kids to get outside, run around freely, and exert that natural energy with which they are so fortunately blessed is a great way to stimulate their bodies, thus improving their brain function and control.
Getting kids outside has many physical, social, and emotional benefits to include:
- Building confidence.
- Promoting creativity and imagination.
- Teaching responsibility.
- Encouraging healthy living and exercise.
- Reducing stress and fatigue.
Now that you want to get up and out of the house WITH the kids, here to make all of your fall family adventures simple, fun, and carefree is the Veer All-Terrain Cruiser. Never before has there been a combination wagon/stroller with the rugged durability and versatility you will find with the Veer Cruiser. From the beach to the mountains and everywhere in between, the Veer Cruiser has got you covered.
With multiple seating solutions including infant seat adapters, toddler comfort seats, and five-point harnesses for ultimate safety, the Veer Cruiser will let those little legs take a break without putting an end to the fun. Add the snack tray, foldable storage basket, and even the optional nap system and your Veer Cruiser is meant to go with you.
Life is all about the journey, not just the destination, so go explore the world, create your own adventures and LIVE. Teach your children to get up, get out and get moving because time passes with or without you. Veer’s motto is Go Further, Together because these babies grow fast, so take them along for the ride and experience our world through their inquisitive, imaginative, awe-inspiring eyes.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
For more on the benefits of outdoor play and exercise for kids check out The Importance of Physical Play and Play to Increase Your Child’s Upper Body Strength & Why It Matters.
Photo Credits: KVdesigns