Why is fresh air important for children?

As the winter chill sets in, many of our children's hobbies and extra-curricular activities will reside in the warmth of a local hall or centre. Taking into account the hours a week a child already spends in-doors at home or at school, it can be a challenge to ensure your child gets enough time outside, reaping the benefits of fresh air.

There are a myriad of health benefits for children who spend time playing outdoors, including an increased intake of Vitamin D and decreased hyperactivity and depression. Children also tend to be more active outdoors which can reduce the risk of child obesity and will give your child the opportunity to benefit from creative and interactive play.

Getting outdoors on a regular basis can also improve your child's health and wellbeing as the fresh air cleans their lungs, ridding them of impurities such as car fumes and dust.

A study by Cambridge University scientists also suggests that every hour spent outdoors each week can reduce a child's chance of becoming short-sighted by two per cent. In October 2011, the Telegraph reported that children who are short-sighted spend an average of 3.7 fewer hours a week outside compared with those who have normal vision or are long sighted.

Playing outdoors will also give children a greater appreciation for nature and wildlife. The colours and crunch of an autumn leaf or the speed of a squirrel hurdling across the trees may escape our attention as we commute to work, but to children these can be as engaging as watching a TV programme or playing on a games console if we help to draw their attention to the wonders of the natural world.

If you appreciate the many benefits of fresh air for children but struggle to encourage your child to play outside, click here for a few ideas to try with your family.
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