“Play keeps us fit physically and mentally.” Stuart Brown, M.D.
Most kids love to run, jump, swing and climb on outdoor playgrounds because it’s fun. But research shows outdoor play is much more than just fun, it’s necessary to help keep kids physically fit and healthy.
Physical Benefits of Play
Although kids’ levels of activity vary when they play outside, they are almost certainly higher than when they watch television or play video games. Different playground equipment lends itself to varying levels of activity, making it easy for kids of all age groups and ability levels to physically benefit from outdoor play on a playground.
Research has shown that the physical benefits of play include learning reflexes and movement control, developing fine and gross motor skills, increasing flexibility and balancing skills; learning to walk, run, jump, throw, climb, slide and swing. These activities all lead to improved physical health and fitness.
Increased physical activity for children has proven to be effective. Studies show that children who are more physically active are healthier when it comes to blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels. Taking kids to the playground is one of the most fun, and healthy, things you can do for – and with – them.
Parents can be the best advocates for physical activity and play. Setting an example of a healthy, active lifestyle – one that includes outdoor play – is the first step toward keeping kids on a path to good physical health.