Spending Time In Nature Is Good For Your Health

Jill Sturdy

Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager

Last week a new study was published providing guidelines for kids’ physical activity in a 24 hour period, and reinforced the importance of outdoor play for kids’ overall health and wellbeing.

We all know the importance of moving our body every day, and the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle (sitting is the new smoking, right?). Yet, Canadians are spending more time indoors (and sitting), which is having a huge impact on our mental and physical health, particularly with children.

We are also becoming less connected to nature.

Image of Jill's son and dog in snow

Jill’s son and dog playing in the snow.

Providing opportunities for kids to spend more time playing outdoors in nature will help promote a healthy lifestyle, and foster an appreciation for nature. If you are looking for ways to get your child to move more, send them outdoors! Kids will naturally move more when they’re outdoors. Kids know play!

And the best way to get your kids out into nature is to go with them! Why not take the opportunity to spend some quality family time together in nature?!

It can be hard to get motivated to get outside this time of year when it’s dark and the weather is colder, but there are lots of ways to enjoy winter.  The most important thing is to make sure you’re dressed for the weather. Get everyone geared up with toques and mittens, snowpants and boots, and go out and discover nature in your neighbourhood.

You don’t need to go far to explore nature.

Last night, my son, dog and I decided to walk down and get the mail, and it turned into an adventure. It was dark but the moon was out and with just a skiff of snow, created a bit of natural light. We explored the fresh footprints in the snow and wondered if we’d hear an owl in the forest.

It was a short, 20 minute walk after dinner that gave us a chance to connect after a full day at work and school. We held hands as we walked and laughed, and were amazed at how bright the waxing moon shone. We had a blast, and the fresh air helped all of us settle down for the night!

Why not incorporate a neighbourhood nature walk this weekend, and discover nearby nature right where you live – in your NatureHood!

To read more, check out an article on family nature walks here and recent guidelines on children and outdoor play here.

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