Go Outside And Play!

[This post is by guest blogger, In Balance Consultant Rebecca Mullins, RHN NNCP. You can find out more about her over at: wallacehealth.com]

Remember our parents telling us that when we were children?  And nothing has really changed – sometimes the simplest choices in life can lead to the highest quality health – and it doesn’t necessarily even have to cost anything!  And bringing more nature into our lives and living a more natural lifestyle can provide many benefits to our physical health and mental wellbeing.

With our increasingly busy and more technologically developed lives, it’s more important now than ever before to intentionally get closer to nature.

Spend at least 30 minutes outside each day – People spend the majority of their time indoors these days: at work, home, school, the mall, the gym etc – but just 30 minutes outside every day is enough time to get a whole host of health benefits.

Consider the natural elements provided for us by nature – the sun, fresh air, clean water and the earth itself.  There are so many ways to get back in touch with nature that offer tremendous health benefits for you and your children.

There was a time when sunshine on our skin and dirt under our fingernails was normal.  Did you know that a small amount of exposure to the sun every day is actually good for us?  In fact, it is essential to our health.  It’s a good idea to let your kids play in the full sun for 15-20 minutes every day with no sunscreen or covering (a little shorter or longer depending on skin pigmentation) and this will ensure that the vital nutrient Vitamin D can be produced in the body.  If your child is going to be outside for a longer period of time, have him cover up with light cotton clothing and use a naturally-made chemical-free sunscreen, if desired.

Getting out into the fresh air in the summer, as well as in every other season including the winter – and whether it’s cold, hot, dry or raining – literally inspires us not only physically, but also mentally.  It’s crucial to our health and can’t be replicated in any other way.

Drinking plenty of clean water every day cannot be overstated.  If you don’t have your own well water or have home access to pure water, consider locating a spring in your area.  A great resource is:  http://www.findaspring.com/. Not only will you and your family receive health benefits from drinking clean water regularly, but taking little trips regularly to a nearby spring to fill up your containers gets you outside, and you can create an adventure at the same time!

Encourage your kids to run barefoot on the earth every day – there are so many benefits!  Connecting our bare skin directly to the earth’s surface, which naturally contains negative ions, helps to balance the positive ions we build up every day through stress, inflammatory foods and exposure to electronic and cellular devices.  Have a look at this website for more info: http://www.earthing.ca.

Eating foods that are offered in whole form by the earth will supply the full spectrum of nutrients needed for glowing health, as the earth provides minerals and many other nutrients, and the sun provides vitamins and more that our bodies need.

There is a vast body of research that demonstrates the profound benefits to children that arise from moving and being in nature, positively affecting not only their physical health, but also their cognitive skills and social life.

Plan regular trips in nature with your family – Give your children scrapbooks where they can store photos, draw pictures, journal their nature experiences, and press leaves and flowers.  At home, you can set up bird feeding stations and prepare your own wild bird food mixes, create insect nests for ants, butterflies, bees etc and create habitat piles from decaying wood.

Scavenger hunts are fun – give each person a checklist of items to look for before each outing.  Here are a few suggested items to get you started, but you can come up with hundreds more:

Scavenger Hunt List

  • Smooth stones, sparkly stones
  • Vines
  • Bones
  • Ants’ nest
  • Coniferous pine tree
  • Seeds – how many different kinds can you find?
  • A four-legged creature
  • Mushrooms
  • Hiking stick – make it your own
  • Butterfly
  • Something heart-shaped
  • Bird’s nest
  • Moss
  • Berries
  • Bird with red on it
  • An insect that you’ve never seen before
  • Two wild edibles – research to learn more about them
  • Honeybee
  • Dried leaves – what kinds are they?
  • Snail or slug
  • Hole in the ground, formed by an animal
  • Fluffy clouds
  • Feather
  • Tree sap
  • *Take a Picture of You Hugging a Tree
  • *Take a Picture of Your Bare Feet on the Earth

Spending time in nature forms the basis of a wider understanding of our children’s role in the natural environment, as well as how they, as citizens, can play a positive role in its protection and management.

Rebecca Mullins RHN, NNCP is an Ontario-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist at the Wallace Integrated Health Centre in North Bay and can be reached at rebeccamullinsrhn@live.ca


2 Comments

  1. I am really thankful to the owner of this web page who
    has shared this impressive piece of writing at at this time.

  2. Brenda Wollenberg

    Thanks Ann. Glad you found the information one of our Ontario In Balance nutritionists shared to be helpful!

Leave a Reply