A recent study has shown that it is more beneficial to get the kids outside for exercise than to have exercise indoors. Children are more likely to be physically active outdoors, exercising large muscles, running, jumping and playing sports or games. Indoor activities tend to be more sedentary or movement is more restricted.
Findings from the researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom showed a distinct advantage to encouraging outdoor activities among children. Those who were involved in outdoor exercise on a regular basis decreased their risk for obesity and other health issues. Outdoor games and activities promote more vigorous physical activity.
For the study, researchers examined the relationship between 427 children between the ages of 10 and 11 during outdoor and physical activity levels as part of the Personal and Environmental Associations with Children’s Health (PEACH) project. They used accelerometers to determine the intensity of activity experienced as well as GPS devices to monitor when the children were outside. The children were also asked to keep a diary to record who they spent time with throughout the day.
Findings showed that children who spent more time outdoors were more likely to be physically active when compared to those who spent more time indoors. In fact, researchers calculated that for every hour spent outside playing with friends, the children ended up performing an additional 17 minutes of physical activity. Yet for every hour children spent playing indoor with friends, their physical activity levels only increased by an extra six minutes.
“We found that children spend most of their after-school time indoors and little time outdoors playing with other children, which makes the biggest contribution to the amount of physical activity they get,” said Dr. Angela Page, from Bristol University’s Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, via Medical Xpress.