Allow me to step up onto my soapbox for a few moments.
You may have heard of Nature Deficit Disorder that looks at how children’s lack of time spent outdoors can result in a range of health related problems. It has sparked a movement across Canada called Healthy by Nature that is all about reconnecting our children with the natural world.
Researchers have found that being in nature can actually improve one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Take a look at these examples:
A large study was done that looked at children in green schools (where students spent more time outside) compared to children in non green schools. Students were tested in a variety of ways. In every academic task, the former group outperformed the latter.
Groups of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder were taken on walks in nature for 20 minutes. When they returned and were tested, each child had diminished symptoms or none at all which lasted the duration of the day.
Several groups of children and adults were given a healthy dose of outside nature time for two to three days. Each one had improved overall cellular function upon return (blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol etc.) that lasted up to 30 days.
In order to really do justice here, you need to check out the Healthy By Nature website (www.healthybynature.ca) where you can read up on all of this and much more, plus get access to some really cool resources. Or, if you prefer anecdotal evidence, simply hike with your child in the mountains and observe….no doubt you will find the effects magical.
I’m stepping down now…Thank you for indulging me.
As this article goes to press, participants in the fourth annual Brat Ride will be getting ready to rip it up in West Sechelt on Sept. 23. Read all about it next month.
Until then, see you out there.
Editor’s note: Lydia Watson handles marketing and community education for Off the Edge Adventure Sports. Her column appears once a month in Coast Reporter.