Let’s raise awareness regarding why children need to play outdoors regularly!
Well, for starters, playing outdoors has the potential to support children’s well being, learning and development.
When outdoors in the park, children experience freedom and become a part of the natural environment. They make contact with natural elements (like air, leaves, grass, sand etc).
They also experience movements of other people and sometimes animals and birds too.
Can these opportunities and stimulus be replicated inside?
Playing outside has several benefits. Children benefit from being –
- Exposed to sunlight
- Natural elements
- Open air
Contact with natural sunlight and nature element contributes to –
- Bones development
- Stronger immune system
- Physical activity
Being physically active from early age is relevant today as lot of parents are concerned about child obesity and overweight.
According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China.
Causes of Childhood Obesity
- Availability of fast foods
- Consumption of foods high in fats, sugar and salt
- Low physical activity
- Increased income
- Educational demands
- Television viewing
What can be the complications if the child is obese?
Usually parents feel that a chubby child is a healthy child. Parents don’t feel the necessity to visit a doctor till children develop complications.
Most obese children develop –
- Early puberty
- Joint pain
- Find it difficult to exercise
- Develop metabolic syndrome
- And end up with Type 2 diabetes
Globalization, technology expansion and urban growth has contributed to diminished opportunities for outdoor play.
Additionally, a growing culture of nuclear family, both parents being employed and paucity of time are few major reasons why children tend to be kept inside, occupied with structured activities, and controlled by adults.
Moreover, as parents work long hours, they want their child to be occupied with activities to acquire different skills and knowledge. Parents want the best opportunities for their children.
However, best opportunities we as parents provide, it cannot be equated with or compromised with ‘health’. After all, don’t we all hear the cliché ‘Healthy mind in a healthy body’!
Taking the child outdoor is also an opportunity for adults to stay active, feel fresh air and sunlight. Go then. What are you waiting for?