November 25, 2010

The Benefits of Playing Outside in the Snow...Sending children outside to play may not only be healthier for them physically, but it may be better for them psychologically too. And while we're at it, why don't we join them and play out in the snow as well!

A research project called Child of Our Time produced by the BBC is tracking the growth of twenty-five children from the time they're born until they become adults. After reaching the midpoint of this study, they've made an important observation - children who play outside laugh more.

They say that laughter is the best medicine and this holds true for adults and children alike! Not only is laughter a stress reliever, but the physical movements involved with laughing gives the heart and lungs a workout. Laughter also stimulates the immune system to fight off colds and viruses that children are so susceptible too. If playing outside causes children to laugh more - it's something we all need a little more of! Children playing outside experience other health benefits as well. They're more likely to be adventurous and open to new experiences than a child who lives life vicariously - parked in front of the television set. Outdoor play fuels our imagination and teaches us how to be resourceful by creating our own entertainment. It also brings us closer to nature.

Of course there are also the more obvious health benefits of playing outside such as positive benefits on the heart and a reduction in the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Running and jumping builds stronger bones and muscles. How many of us are getting enough vitamin D? The best source of vitamin D is the sun and when we spend all our time indoors, our risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency is high - which could lead to health problems later in life. So avoid grumbling and get outside and play in the snow!

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