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The Big Benefits of Being in Nature

One of the best parts about going to camp is being outside. After all, Camp Fire began in 1910 to give girls the kind of outdoor experiences that were already available to boys. These days, Camp Fire programs teach kids of all genders to appreciate nature. What our founders knew intuitively is now backed up with scientific research: Being in nature helps keep youth physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

Physical Benefits

Common sense tells us that kids who play outside play harder. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outdoors have lower rates of obesity. One team of researchers tracked the amount of green space in different neighborhoods using satellite images. Kids who lived in neighborhoods with more natural play areas had healthier BMIs than kids with less green space. Figures! In particular, girls who play outdoors as young children grow up to be much more active teenagers, too.

Beyond physical exercise, being in nature has been shown to reduce childhood nearsightedness and Vitamin D deficiencies. (Thanks, sunshine!) Researchers report kids who live in areas with higher tree densities have lower asthma rates. In fact, contact with nature has been scientifically tied to all kinds of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better immune systems and heart health.

Mental & Emotional Benefits

But it’s not just physical. Get this: Children with more access to natural environments have less depression and anxiety. Studies have also shown that being in a green setting, even just taking a 20-minute nature walk, can improve kids’ focus and reduce ADHD symptoms. Nature-based learning has been proven to lower students’ stress and aggression while boosting their engagement academic performance. Combining education with green space leads to higher creativity and social skills, too!

 

 

Which brings us back to camp, right? Camp is where many kids first learn to love being outside. Those outdoor Camp Fire experiences can lead to a lifelong nature habit…with all the physical, mental and emotional benefits that brings.

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