Outdoor Activities and the Health Benefits of Spending Time Together as a Family

An American family gets 37 minutes of quality time per day with many struggling to find moments to be together and bond without disruptions. Unfortunately, today’s society is hooked to devices and gadgets that are helpful yet distracting to families. With nearly 55% of respondents in an Anaheim survey saying that they are constantly looking for ways to be together with their families, outdoor activities are good opportunities to remove or limit distractions.  Spending time outdoors has many advantages including mental, physical and psychological gains. It encourages your family to stay healthy and improve overall wellbeing.

How Outdoor Activities Enhance Bonding

When you do outdoor activities as a family, you enhance bonding. Whether you are camping, visiting a park or grilling outdoors, you do things together. These outdoor activities encourage interaction, talking to one another and even touching. For example, if you are on a camping trip, you must set-up camp, make your bed, prepare meals or build a fire. The tasks require that you cooperate and work together to get things done.

Unlike indoor activities, outdoor events may have to rely on unpredictable factors such as weather or the natural environment. Hence, families need to listen and assist each other. Communicating with one another not only validates feelings but also clears out differences. Being in nature also minimizes distractions enabling families to get closer to one another. Overall, relationships improve when families are together enjoying outdoor activities.

Beyond Improving Quality Time

Outdoor activities also offer other advantages apart from bonding and quality time. Poppell and Monroe argue that exposure to nature at an early age promotes good physical health and development among young kids while Loprinzi et al suggest that being in nature enhances psychological health and motor skills. Kids are physically active when outdoors. They use their imagination and creativity to explore nature.  Spending time in green spaces also reduces stress according to a study by Kono et al. Moreover, outdoor time usually includes some form of physical activity that is beneficial for kids and adults whether through walking, running or hiking. Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is great for the health.

Nature walks, outdoor exercise and walking may reduce stress and improve health according to a study by Kondo et al. It can also lower levels of inflammation says Mao et al while a University of Michigan research revealed that people who walked down an arboretum did better by 20% in memory tests compared to those who went through the city’s streets.

No doubt, doing outdoor activities with the family has many advantages and benefits. It encourages families to be together by doing activities as a group.  It improves quality time and promotes bonding while reaping valuable health benefits.