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Health benefits of outdoor adventure for children

Monday, 01 April 2019

Across the UK there is an increasing number of children becoming overweight or obese which is mainly down to poor diet and lifestyle. Constantly on screens, playing computer games or watching YouTube, children are spending more time indoors than outside in the fresh air.

That is why this World Health Day (April 7) outdoor adventure and education provider, Kingswood, is encouraging children to get outside and inject a bit of adventure into their life to benefit both their physical and mental health.

Studies have shown that a simple walk outdoors[1] can help lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – in the body[2]. And, running around beneath the trees with friends or taking part in fun activities such as zip wiring and kayaking at a residential camp such as Kingswood is a great way to get children exercising without them even realising they’re doing it.

Steve Anderson, Head of Activities at Kingswood, said: “It is a well-known fact that embracing the outdoors and having adventures reduces stress. Breathing in the fresh air can do wonders for the mind and through all of our activities, not only are we encouraging children to become more active – helping to release those feel good endorphins – we are also teaching essential skills such as team work, communication and problem solving.

“Our on-site activities, such as body boarding and archery, help build resilience, equipping young people for setbacks in their studies, work and all aspects of life by enabling them to learn from failures and view them as positive opportunities. We believe that those students who have a higher level of resilience are able to enter new situations more confidently.

“What’s more, a residential experience is invaluable in building self-confidence and self-belief. Within the new environment of our residential centres learners can find strengths they didn’t know they had and identify opportunities for reflection, boosting their confidence and engagement in their home and school life.”

Getting children off screens and realising their true potential through outdoor adventure and activity can also help with confidence and self-esteem.

Kingswood Psychologist, Dr Alice Jones Bartoli, said: “Children should be encouraged to take part in activities that they enjoy and do well in - not all of these will be traditionally academic. Not only can this give a huge boost to children's confidence but it can also make them feel they have a real purpose.

“Getting outdoors and taking part in physical activities will also release those feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which make children feel happier. A bonus outcome is that being active will not only increase fitness levels but also help children get a more restful night’s sleep, which will also help improve moods and thinking skills the following day.”

Tom Madders, campaigns director at YoungMinds, the children and young people mental health charity and Kingswood charity partner, added: “Children and young people today can face a wide range of pressures, including stress about exams, worries about body image, and the pressures associated with around-the-clock social media. Spending time outdoors, learning new skills, being with friends, taking time out from your daily routine, and having space to talk about how you’re feeling can have real benefits for mental health.”

For more information visit www.kingswood.co.uk or www.youngminds.org.uk

 

- Ends -

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Kingswood.

 

For further information please contact:

kingswoodpress@beattiegroup.com / 020 7053 6000

 

Notes to Editors

Kingswood operates residential education and adventure centres across the UK and France, providing educationally-rich activity breaks for schools and groups. Founded over 30 years ago, it welcomes over 170,000 young people and runs 1.2million activities every year. Each centre provides a safe environment for a wide range of over 60 adventurous activities and learning opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, ranging from kayaking and abseiling to problem solving and curriculum linked sessions. Tailor-made programmes focus on a selection of learning outcomes, designed to achieve objectives from team building to personal development through the use of adventure activities.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov./pubmed/20337470

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

 

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