Valérie Fernandez

By Valérie Fernandez

February 27, 2016


6 Good Reasons for Going Outside to Play

Article revised on 8 August 2018

You’ve heard it time and time again: exercising is good for your health. That’s nothing new. But did you know that there are additional benefits to being active outdoors? Here are a few reasons to help convince you to step outside. 

1- A better workout outside

On the Tennis Canada website, you can read about how outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than indoor exercise. According to this organization, studies have shown that people running on a treadmill expend less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside. The difference may be due to wind resistance and changes in terrain, obliging outside runners to slightly increase their level of exertion.

2- More light, less depression

Exercising outdoors is also a way of increasing your exposure to sunlight, which is essential to good mental health. Natural light has a positive impact on mood and, therefore, on mental health. We all need sunlight, but those of us who tend to get the winter blues should definitely go outside for some exercise.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, have found that outdoor physical activity in natural environments seems to have a positive effect on stress. It therefore significantly decreases the risk of suffering from poor mental health. 

3- Better stress management

According to Québec en Forme, outdoor activity reduces stress. We relax and get a boost of energy and vitality when we are in contact with nature, exposed to natural light and just getting some fresh air. For adults and kids alike, outdoor activity is a way to unplug and reduce the fatigue that results from prolonged attention to on-the-job or school work. It goes without saying that, when your stress is better controlled and you’re in good physical health, you’re also able to sleep better at night.

4- A good example for the younger generation

Children learn by example. Parents are in a prime position to set a good example for their children to follow. If you are a parent, encourage your kids to enjoy playing outside, running around, burning up energy. The good habits they develop now will stand them in good stead in the future.

Unfortunately, because of the amount of time they spend in front of tablets, video games and TVs, kids are less and less inclined to be physically active. Even worse is the fact that they are spending less and less time outdoors. In a recent report card on physical activity, ParticipACTION indicated that kids aged 9 – 17 who play outside get 20 more minutes of intense physical activity per day and are three times more likely to get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Kids who play outside also have better-developed motor skills, social behaviour, etc.

5- Reduced risk for nearsightedness

Outdoor activity is good for your kids’ eyesight. According to a University of Cambridge study, nearsighted children spent, on average, 3.7 fewer hours per week outdoors than other children. Children who have more outdoor time spend less time on close work, such as playing games on a screen. They are not focusing as much on distances and are taking part in activities less likely to harm their vision.

6- More fun!

The varied climate we Canadians have gives us ample opportunities to take part in accessible physical activities that are suitable for all tastes and budgets. All we have to do is try some to see which ones we like. As long as we are dressed appropriately, regardless of the weather, we can enjoy taking part in outside activities alone or with family and friends!

Let’s go! Everyone outside!

The Viva Workplace health and wellness program is a turnkey program that’s specially designed to meet employers’ needs with regard to health and wellness promotion and prevention.

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