I was driving home the other evening through the beginnings of a snow storm and listening to NPR. I'd hit the radio on button and came into the middle of a very interesting program.
They were talking about something I'd never heard of or dreamed of.
Nature Deficit Disorder and the health benefits of simply being in Nature. This applied to both adults and children. I was interested in the conversation as they talked about how today's children don't spend time outside and spend nearly 60+ hours a week hooked up to modern electronics [think iPads, laptops, smartphones, DVD players, TV].
There has been quite a bit of research done on what is called NDD. Over the years parents have stopped letting their children play outside more because of the 'fear' of letting their children play outside, ride their bikes, go to a playground or take a walk. Personally I think the media has had a major role in this with fear mongering reporting regarding child abductions and other incidents.
Being outside or being in Nature relieves stress. Studies show that children and adults benefit by being more creative, happier, healthier, smarter, more cooperative, and better problem solvers.
These are actual studies, not just theories.
Children and adults who spend little time outdoors or being in Nature have higher incidents of depression, obesity, less self discipline, low self esteem, diminished health [think of constantly being sick], reduced congnitive, creative, problem solving abilities, and in some cases ADHD.
Think of it like this. The more a person sits at a chair, the shorter their life span is. Studies have shown that sitting is the new silent killer. Activity is a way to keep your mind and body sharp.
The idea of children spending most of their lives indoors floors me. The world was not much different when I was a child. We lived in the suburbs during the school year, and mom would shoo us outside after we'd done our after school chores.
During the summer, we rarely spent time indoors. We made up things to do while living at the summer cottage with no TV and a radio that seemed to only get Country and Western music.
Personally I find that no matter the weather, I feel the need to get out of the house daily and do something outside. Yes, nature is easier for me to access because I live in the middle of forests and meadows. However, when I lived in a city apartment I'd go for a walk every day, just to blow the cobwebs of work out of my brain and come home with a clear mind.
Sure it is easy for you, you say. Yes it is, because I don't believe in spending my days in front of a TV or computer screen.
I need to have a daily dose of outside.
It is only Natural.
Interesting article from Education.com, Reconnecting Children with Nature.
Don't stay inside, an interesting adventure awaits near you, just go out the door.