Going Alfresco-Benefits of bringing your group outside at Cape Cod Sea Camps

Going Alfresco

As the seasons change, the daylight switches from the long days of summer to the short grey days of winter, our motivation to step outside seems to dwindle. During the cold/ grey months, we often forget about the importance of carving out time to step outside and take in the sunshine. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their time indoors and as individuals get older, they are less inclined to spend time outdoors. 8 With this sobering statistic, it is important to understand the benefits and reasons why it is important to get outside daily.

Vitamin D

This sunshine vitamin is free anytime you step outside during the day. Vitamin D is commonly produced in the body after exposure to sunlight and is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and bone health.1  Studies have found that if a child does not get enough sunlight, they have a greater risk of bone problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health problems. A study performed on over 10,000 children found that 61% of American children aged 1 to 21 were Vitamin D insufficient which represented 50.8 million US children. 5

Health

Playing outside can be difficult to do some days and weeks of the year, but the health benefits for children and adults are worth the effort. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), recommends that children play at least one hour a day to increase their overall health. When they have the chance to play outside, they engage their cardiovascular system and major muscle groups, which helps them grow thinner and stronger. 4

Improved Sleep

Sleep success if caused directly by good sleep patterns. Everyone’s sleep patterns are caused by their internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, which is directly affected by the sun patterns. When someone spends too much time away from the sun or directly in artificial light instead, their circadian rhythm can be altered causing them to have a poor sleep pattern. It is shown that early morning exposure to sunlight or a few days enjoying the outdoors, can recalibrate a person’s internal clock. 2

Getting Grounded

Grounding, also known as earthing, is known as skin to skin contact with dirt, grass, trees, sand, etc. This idea is that we are connected to the earth and when we do not touch it or play on it, we lose positive energy. 6 Daily or weekly earthing has been shown to increase a person’s positivity. If you want to feel energized, get outside and take off your shoes.

Psychological Health

When one takes a walk with nature, it is common to feel relaxed and focused after the outing. Nature is known to be massively beneficial for a person’s well-being. It has been found that getting outside can increase attention spans (short and long term), boost serotonin levels also known as the feel-good neurotransmitters, and has shown to increase activity in the brain responsible for emotional stability and empathy. 3 The Academy of Pediatrics reports that in today’s world full of hurried lifestyles, children need to get outside to avoid the increase of stress, anxiety and depression forming in younger children.

 

Kellsie Sedlak

Groups Manager

groups@capecodseacamps.com

508-896-3451

 

 

Sources

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. “Many Children have Suboptimal Vitamin D Levels,” Pediatrics. http:///www.aap.org/advocacy/ releases/oct2609studies/htm
  2. Cherry, K. (n.d.). How Circadian Rhythms Are Affected by Your Environment. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/circadian-rhythms-the-bodys-clock-2795928
  3. Ginsburg, MD MSEd, Kenneth R. Committee on Communications, and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds.” 119.1
  4. How much physical activity do children need? (2015, June 04). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm
  5. Kumar, J., Muntner, P., Kaskel, F.J., Hailpern, S.M., & Melamed, M.L. (2009). Prevalence and associations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in US children: NHANES 2001-2004. Pediatrics (August 3).
  6. Oschman, J. L. (2007, November). Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18047442
  7. Perspective | Kids do not spend nearly enough time outside. Here’s how (and why) to change that. (2018, May 29). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/05/30/kids-dont-spend-nearly-enough-time-outside-heres-how-and-why-to-change-that/?utm_term=.23f0b6bd922a