Get Outdoors, There Are Benefits For All!

Sometimes during this stay at home order, I find it easy to be a stagnant, couch potato. As I balance the at home mom, full time 4-H Educator and 1st grade teacher, planting us in front of the tv is an easy out for entertainment.

When our Lawrence County 4-H Health Hero, Brea Belville, issued her 4th H: Get Outside and Move Challenge, I began thinking. Thinking of all the many challenges we are faced with as we deal with our “new normal”, feeling a little stuck but safe at home. Although, I’ve heard of all reasons to be outdoors, I still felt like because I had to work, I had to be inside… but what if I moved it outdoors?

Suddenly, I move my office and kids outside and it’s like magic. My daughter is entertained, running and playing in the yard, jumping rope, and doing tug of war with the dog. My 8-month old son is enjoying watching it all and I am getting work accomplished. Win-Win for all involved in my family today.

As I sit outside researching and reminding myself of the benefits, we are all getting fresh air and Vitamin D. So, how is it beneficial you may ask? It improves mood, focus, and even sleep habits. Just being outside also increases the likelihood of being physically active. The minute we stepped out, Leighton’s creative, active play began.

So what can you do outside?

Home Work: for youth it may be school work or adults it may be work, work. Whatever it is, can your job be done sitting on your porch? The outdoor air and sunshine helps get those creative thoughts flowing.

Picnic: Move your breakfast, lunch, or dinner outdoors. Set up a blanket in the yard, sit on the porch, on the playset, whatever works for your family. Maybe it’s even cooking around an outdoor fire.

Play: Move your body; walk, run, jump, ride your bike. Whatever it is your body likes to do. For youth, 60 minutes a day is encouraged, for adults it’s 150 minutes a week. It’s easily attainable by just moving outdoors; play duck, duck, goose, simon says, red light, green light, the list goes on.

Read: Read a new book, have your kids read to you, or to each other.

Yoga: Practice some of your favorite yoga moves to stretch and clear your mind. 4-H Yoga For Kids is on youtube and a great resource for kids and adults.

These are just a few ideas, but did you know outdoor play encourages cognitive, social, emotional development? Allowing for unstructured, free play allows for self-direction and lengthens attention spans. So, I challenge you to allow yourself, your kids, your family to be creative and dream up some outdoor fun.

Starting now, while we are at-home, and getting outside daily will help to establish new habits that will keep you healthy throughout your life.

Keeping active not only will improve your physical health and well-being but all aspects of life.


Authored By: Rachael Fraley, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development

Reviewed By: Paige Matney, OSU Extension, Lawrence County Office Associate



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