Nature & Physical Activity
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Physical activity helps adults & children to maintain a good physical health, as well as a positive mental wellbeing. It’s even more important now during lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are all involved in physical activity. Most children, as well as adults are currently less active, as they are remaining at home due to school closures and social distancing guidance in the UK. Physical exercise also improves our mood, it’s really important we all look after our mental health specially now in these difficult times.
Thanks to technology, there are many online exercise classes available for all ages. My girls have really been enjoying Joe Wicks and his PE sessions each morning. It’s a fun PE lesson for the entire family, and a great way of getting fit!
Physical exercise its not only about attending exercise classes or heavy workout, even some brisk walking counts. It’s also important that we get out of the house, even if it is for a brief walk. When you go for a walk outdoors, you realise what a positive impact nature has on your emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that being outdoors surrounded by nature and fresh air, can increase our energy levels. The intake of oxygen can lift our spirits and improve our mental wellbeing. Being outdoors in fresh air routinely, can help fight anxiety & depression. We’ll also get Vitamin D, when out in the sun, just hope the weather stays this way now! Research has also shown that children’s social, psychological and physical health, as well as academic attainment is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Nature is important to children’s overall development. I read a piece of research a while ago that showed how modern family life has changed dramatically in the last two decades. That children spend more time in front of the TV, playing video games and being on their tablets, than they are physically active outside. Research also confirmed that families tend to eat more processed & unhealthy foods due to their busy lifestyles. These unhealthy lifestyles have led to an epidemic of childhood obesity, which leads to serious health problems for children, including heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and social and psychological difficulties. In the UK, one in ten children are obese by the age of five, rising to one in five children being obese by the age of 11. A physically active child is a healthy child. Studies have shown that physical activity allows children to have a better outlook on life by building confidence, managing anxiety and depression, and increasing self-esteem and cognitive skills. There are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health.
Below are some examples of the benefits of physical activity:
better sleep - making you feel more tired at the end of the day. Improved sleep leads to being less tired during the day and improves concentration.
better self-esteem - being more active can make you feel better about yourself
reducing the risk of depression - studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
happier and improved mood - physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself. Doing something physical releases cortisol which gives us more energy and helps us managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts. Being physically active also gives our brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.
To summarise, physical activity is not only important for our physical health but also for our mental wellbeing. In addition, being outdoors in nature has shown to have a positive impact our emotional health.
Written by Fi Ramos, Public Health Nurse & First Aid Instructor at Act2care.
Information on this site is evidence based and provided to create awareness and advice only. If you are worried about a condition, seek medical advice.
Theoretical first aid tips are beneficial, however practical demonstrations and exercises are necessary for gaining high standard of first aid knowledge and skills.
If you are interested in gaining first aid skills, contact Fi to find our more about our paediatric first aid classes at firstname.lastname@example.org