Outdoor time helps kids get more exercise

Harold Mandel's picture
Kids playing outdoors

Spending more time outdoors can help set the stage for kids to get more healthy exercise. Sedentary lifestyles are a killer for the physical and emotional well being of kids and so it's a good idea to encourage more outdoor time and more exercise for them.

Positive health associations are seen with spending more time outdoors

Researchers have investigated whether time spent outdoors was associated with increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and associated health benefits in youth reported The Journal of Pediatrics. This study was done on 306 youths aged 13.6 ± 1.4 years. Among the youth who reported spending most or all of their after-school time outdoors positive health associations were seen including:

1: Participation in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity

2: Greater likelihood of achieving the recommended minimum 60 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity

3: Less time in sedentary activities


4: Higher cardiorespiratory fitness

Outdoor time is negatively associated with sedentary behavior

It has been concluded by these researchers that time which is spent outdoors is positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in youth. There is also a negative association with sedentary behavior.

The WHO recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for youth

It's a good idea to tell the kids to go play outside since outdoor time promotes physical activity in youth reports Elsevier in a discussion of this research. It has been recommended by the World Health Organization that youth participate in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

Schools and parents should consider structured time outdoors for kids

The findings in this study support calls to promote outdoor activities as a means of increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in youth. It has been suggested that school wellness policies should include plans which are designed to increase outdoor activity in youth because they spend a great amount of time in school. It has therefore been advised that schools and parents should consider structured time outdoors for kids in an effort to boost physical activity levels and improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

Kids need direction to help them reach for their optimal health potential. Clearly good parents will encourage their kids to eat well and get adequate rest. It's also a good idea to advise kids to get frequent exercise. One manner to help kids do this is to encourage them to spend less time sitting around and to get outside more often.