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Get Up and Play-Outside!

playing outsideWe all have an instinctive drive to run and explore and discover our world through playing. Like all other species, humans need lots of physical activity for their bodies to develop properly. Unfortunately, kids sometimes get distracted by television and computer screens, or parents worry that it's too hot or too cold outside to let kids do what they do best: run around, explore, and let their bodies move.

Here are 7 reasons outdoor play is great for your child's health:

1. Healthier heart
Exercise strengthens your child's cardiovascular system, reduces risk for heart disease, and helps to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

2. Buffed-up bones
Regular physical activity helps maintain bone density. Your child's bone health in old age will be determined in part by the bone density formed during adolescence.

3. Sharper eyesight
Children who spend more time outside are less likely to become nearsighted. The reasons aren't yet known, but they may be linked to sunlight exposure or distance viewing.

4. Stronger muscles
Regular activity helps maintain and strengthen your child's muscles.

5. Better blood sugar
Regular physical activity helps your child use glucose (sugar) as an energy source and improves the body’s ability to use insulin. This lowers the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which develops when blood sugar is too high.

6. Leaner body
Regular activity helps your child burn calories and maintain an appropriate body weight. A little fat is good, but too much is very bad and can increase your child's risk for numerous conditions, such as diabetes.

7. Improved well-being
Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that have proven to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety and may cause kids to have more self-confidence and self-esteem. Regular outdoor activity can help your child to stand up tall and have a better outlook on life.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that children are recommended to get 300 minutes a week or an hour of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity every day. Keep active as a family and get outside to play with your kids-you just may enjoy it too!

Taken from nwf.org