The Outdoor Foundation and ParkRx are organizations that promote and support outdoor activities for children. In an era in which childhood obesity is affecting a third of the youth in this country, organizations that favor good habits for children have our support and endorsement.
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 foundation established by Outdoor Industry Association to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Its vision is to be a driving force behind a massive increase in active outdoor recreation in America. You can learn more about them here.
ParkRx (Park Prescriptions) are programs designed in collaboration among public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners to encourage people to utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health. ParkRx programs give healthcare providers a new set of tools to inspire patients to take proactive steps to improve their health. Parks and public lands are free or low-cost resources in many communities and provide excellent areas to recreate and play. Additionally, parks provide patients with exposure to nature, which has been scientifically proven to improve mental, physical, and social health. Learn more about ParkRx by clicking here.
So why should children play outside? Here are just a few of the health benefits:
- Builds Up their Immune System: when playing outside, children are exposed to dirt, animals, pests, bacteria and everything else that send modern-day parents running. While we like to think that dirt, animals, pests and bacteria do more harm than good it’s actually the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way (outside) and on a regular basis, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.
- Provides Exercise: Playing outside provides children with something many children don’t get enough of anymore – exercise. Exercising while having fun is the best kind of exercise, and that’s exactly what playing outside does.
- Stimulates the Imagination: Sadly, one of the things that today’s children are lacking is an imagination. This is because we’re in the technological age – today children are literally shown everything. Why go outside and play cops and robbers when we can watch a movie about it or play a video game? Playing outside helps children develop their imagination.
- Promotes Problem Solving Skills: Children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems better than children who are always in their rooms playing video games or secluding themselves.
- Provides Vitamin D: It’s important that your children get Vitamin D, which is provided by the sun. Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory, overall health and more.