15 Outdoor Family Activities During Social Distancing
Yes, flu season hit us hard this year. Communities are avoiding public outings, amusement parks, sporting and music events. What people should NOT avoid though, is getting FRESH AIR! We encourage everyone to take advantage of the slight turn in warmer weather and spend some time outside to breathe in the fresh, clean air.
Here are 5 direct quotes from medical professionals about ways fresh air will benefit you and your family as the fight against flu continues:
- Physical and emotional health benefits:
“The more time we spend in close quarters indoors with other people, the more exposure we have to germs and the more likely we will get sick,” he explains. “Even just opening a window or door allows fresh air to circulate and contaminated air to be let out.”
- Dr. Eric Morley, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California (Source)
- Boosted immunity system:
“It may be time to step outside if you find yourself cooped up with tons of other people at your office, or even in your own home. Such close quarters exposes you to all sorts of germs. Plus, even a simple walk outside can raise your immune system. "Exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes, which ultimately increases immune function.”
- Ather Ali, ND, MPH, assistant director of Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center (Source)
“Back away from the energy drink. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. ‘Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature."
- Richard Ryan, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester (Source)
- Mental Health Boost:
“Finding green space or stepping into a park or garden can give the brain a break from urban stimuli. A recent epidemiological study has shown that people who move to greener urban areas benefit from sustained improvements in their mental health, according to Frontiers in Psychology. In fact, a recent Scandinavian study found that office workers with even views of trees or nature had lower stress levels than those who had city views.
Nature improves concentration as well, helping both children with attention deficit disorders as well as elderly citizens combating dementia or Alzheimer’s. Without the rush of man-made stimuli, the human mind is freed up to be more creative, and having lower stress levels allows us to focus on the task at hand better. This is why you might get your best ideas during a day fishing on the lake, or make that breakthrough on a work-related problem while on a walk in the woods.”
- Frontiers in Psychology (Source)
- Vitamin D Boost:
“Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because sunlight hitting the skin begins the circuitous process — the liver and kidneys get involved — that eventually leads to the creation of the biologically active form of the vitamin. Over all, research is showing that many vitamins, while necessary, don't have such great disease-fighting powers, but vitamin D may prove to be the exception. Epidemiologic studies are suggesting it may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. Even by conventional standards, many Americans don't have enough vitamin D circulating in their bodies. The good news is that you'll make all the vitamin D you need if you get outside a few times a week during these summer days and expose your arms and legs for 10 to 15 minutes.”
- Harvard Medical School Research (Source)
15 activities for families to get some fresh air outside during social distancing:
- Walk through the neighborhood
- Create a scavenger hunt for the kids to find leaves, pine cones, special types of flowers, and anything else in nature
- Build an obstacle course in the yard
- Have a picnic in your yard
- Grab some binoculars to take up birding
- Play ‘I spy’ or 20 questions about objects you can see outside
- Go fishing
- Take a coloring book outside – this applies for children and adults!
- Play in the dirt
- Paint rocks
- Read a book, or let the beginners practice reading outside
- Take a bike ride
- Take some sensory bins outside
- Try a new hiking trail
Whether it’s 15 minutes, or an hour and 15 minutes, PLAY OUTSIDE!