Disclaimer :: This article contains sponsored content provided by Cooper Aerobics.
Go outside! We’ve all been told to get some fresh air to improve our mood, change our perspective, or get the blood flowing. The same is true for our kids.
With more time than ever spent sitting in front of screens at home or school, obesity is on the rise and our kids are increasingly more anxious, stressed, and tuned out. It’s essential to support their physical activity and encourage them to spend time outdoors. Spending time in nature is linked to cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health, and emotional well-being, just to name a few wellness benefits, according to the American Psychological Association.
Whether your kiddos are playing in the backyard or running around a park, they are sure to enjoy the fresh air. Want even more fun and engaging activities for your child? Kids can embrace the green space this summer (and year round!) at Cooper Aerobics, which provides outdoor activities including Fit & Fun Day Camp, Tennis Camp, and swim lessons or competitive swim training. Every kid can reap the rewards of being outdoors.
Let’s Get Physical!
Being active in nature supports a healthy lifestyle. We all want our kids to be healthy, which includes getting the recommended amount of exercise, an average of 60 minutes a day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity.
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Another benefit from the great outdoors is a healthy dose of vitamin D, which promotes bone health and supports immunity. Studies show this minimizes the risks of upper respiratory infection and influenza. (Just remember to wear sunscreen daily!)
Swimming is a fantastic activity for kids, since there are few barriers or equipment needed. Two outdoor pools at Cooper offer ample swim lanes for kids to practice strokes while having fun in the water. There are opportunities throughout the year for individual lap swimming, swim lessons, and competitive swim training. (FYI: The pools are kept at 72 degrees to encourage swimming in any weather!)
As one of the top five aerobic exercises for maximum health benefits, swimming is enjoyed by so many because of its lower risk of injury or pressure on the bones and joints. In addition to being an essential life skill, swimming is a lifelong sport that can be taken up at any age.
Year-round camps at Cooper — which are offered in summer, spring break and winter break— introduce a variety of sports and physically-active games to enhance kids’ agility, balance, and social interaction. Activities such as relay races, parachute games, and capture the flag encourage movement outside to keep kids off the couch and out in the sunshine!
Mental Health and Emotional Benefits
If you don’t believe you get a boost of feel-good healing from being outside in nature, just take a look at the research from the American Psychological Association. It shows just how impressive the healing powers of nature can be, including:
- Findings from a research study in Australia in which students showed even a few moments of green can perk up a tired brain.
- Being in contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive social interactions, and even a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
- Immersing in nature can also correlate to decreases in our mental distress. In fact, according to one study, children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
- Exposure to nature has also been shown to lead to improvements in attention, positive emotions and the ability to reflect on a life problem.
What better reason to get your kid outside and moving at Cooper Fitness Center this summer?
Benefits for Learning and School Performance
Nature-based learning and education improve a child’s academic performance and critical thinking. We know from various studies that academic performance is linked to overall health and fitness in children. Studies have shown schools with environmental education programs score higher on standardized tests in math, reading, writing, and listening. Data taken from students in California shows the following relationships between fitness and academics:
- Higher levels of fitness = increased math testing scores
- Higher levels of fitness = increased language arts testing scores
- Healthier lunches = increased math and language arts testing scores
- Higher levels of fitness = higher school attendance rate
- Higher levels of fitness = fewer negative school incidents
Exposure to nature may be widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms. As seen in the brain scans above, brain activity increases after a 20-minute walk — another reason to get outside!
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With all the evidence that being outdoors results in significant physical, mental, and emotional benefits, there’s no better time to register for outdoor youth activities at Cooper Fitness Center. Play with a purpose outside at Cooper this summer or anytime with our year-round programming.
With a variety of youth activities for ages five to 16 offered 12 months of the year. From swim training and day camp to tennis lessons and clinics, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and experience the awe-inspiring effects of nature at Cooper Aerobics Center!
For more than 25 years, Cooper Fitness Center has provided children of all ages the opportunity to experience firsthand how an active lifestyle can improve their social, mental, and physical well-being. Visit cooperyouth.com to learn more.