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Spending Time Outdoors Helps Combat Stress

Stress is an emotion that people deal with in their lives every single day. No matter what we do, we cannot escape it. There are so many ways of dealing with stress, weather it is negative or positive. I have had the pleasure of being a hard working college student for four years now. Although many experiences I have had have been nothing but memorable, stress is something that controls my body a majority of the time attending university. In order to properly deal with my stress, I asked myself what I really enjoy doing on my days off. The answer was simple. Being outside whether it is walking, kayaking, hiking, or just lying out and soaking up the rays from the sun. By being outside, I do not feel stressed. Feeling the breeze and the warmth from the sun on my skin, the stress just seems to go away. So then I thought, does being outside actually aid in relieving stress?

To begin my research, I wanted to start at a young age. It is crucial to understand the importance of recess and outdoor play for children in primary school. I remember how exciting it was to be able to go outside and release my energy as a child. After sitting in a classroom for more than a few hours, the brain is unable to retain more information without a proper break.

“Research shows us that many of the fundamental tasks that children must achieve, such as exploring, risk taking, fine and gross motor development, and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge, can be most effectively learned through outdoor play” (Edgar L., p.4).

Outdoor play for children, allows them to learn while doing. By being able to do things hands on, the mind can better retain the tasks at hand. During the first three years of life, there are more neural pathways in the brain. Physical activity also exercises the brain. When comparing physical activity to seatwork, seatwork actually lowers brain concentration and increases feelings of fatigue. I found this interesting because a majority of learning environments are inside sitting at a desk.

With that being said, many schools are beginning to take away recess and outdoor play in order for students to focus more on academics. This poses a huge problem because these children will not be able to exercise their bodies and minds five out of seven days of the week. Sitting and attempting to learn for eight hours straight will put children’s stress levels at an all-new high.

“Getting children outside more benefits the children not only physically, but also allows the brain to recharge which, should produce greater results academically, socially, and cognitively” (Edgar L., p. 6).

This also encourages children to live a sedentary lifestyle. With many advances in technology, children are becoming more tempted to stay inside where their electronics are. With this new age of technology, television, video games, social media and cell phones are taking over, while outdoor play is becoming a thing of the past.

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