Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Nature is the Best Extracurricular for Your Child

I recently stumbled upon an article entitled: Why Nature is the Best Extracurricular for Your Child and was blown away by a few statements mentioned by the author.

I don't think any of us would argue that being outside is not good for kids. We all know it. I've never met a parent who says, "I do not want my kids going outside. I really want them inside in front of the television as much as humanly possible."

But this particular article mentioned a few things that were really profound. I did not research their precise validity. They don't have to be perfectly true to be interesting things to think about. I was especially moved by the following passage:
  • According to Brain Longevity, nature affects memory by sending your body into a “relaxation response”.  The relaxation response is opposite of the “stress response”.  When you head into nature your brain can turn off – because the environment around you is inherently interesting.  There is no effort required to pay attention when you are in nature – unlike the effort that is required when poring over new text, a new concept, or a new trumpet passage.  These are many benefits of landing in the relaxation zone.  You will experience a decrease in blood pressure, a decrease in cortisol output, heightened immunity, a decrease in muscle tension, and an increase in alertness. The blood flow to the brain will increase by an impressive 25 percent.  In a long term sense, if the relaxation response happens regularly, your body will be much less vulnerable to the stress response to begin with – even when you aren’t outside.
The author encourages parents to schedule time for children just to be. Allow them time to experience the "relaxation response" that is so good for them. Avoid over-scheduling that results in no time for kids to play and relax after going to school all day.

Buying our farm has really indicated to me how healthy it is to just be. Each time we drive up to the farm and I walk the hills, I find myself instantly less stressed. There is no comparison between driving in traffic and hiking. We all know which activity is healthier. And yet we spend so much more time doing the things that are not bringing us the peace we know we need and want.

So why don't we do more hiking?

I intend to, and I am hoping you'll hike along with me. I hope you'll visit me. And I hope you'll learn with me. I hope my blog and the new direction it is taking inspires you to find ways, wherever you are, to learn to love the outdoors and animals and nature.

P.S. If you have not sent me your email address to keep reading my blog, please do. As a reminder, I am going to be changing privacy settings on my blog in the next few months. Even if you don't know me personally, you can still keep reading as an insider if you contact me. If you don't contact me, you'll still have access to the blog but not the more personal posts. Just send me an email at flakymn@hotmail.com with your name and any pertinent details!

1 comment:

samuel helfrich said...

I am inspired by your posts. Living a clean and stress free life . Keep me posted along the way .