There are a lot of reasons to make sure your children are physically active outside. It can help combat obesity.
It can lower their blood pressure and risk for developing diabetes. It can make them feel better about themselves. It can deflect boredom and physically tire them out so they sleep better at night.
And now researchers are saying spending time outdoors may help kids see better too.
A 2012 study, as quoted by KTAR.com, says that parents should make sure their children have enough time outside as this may result in improved eye health.
Researchers found that being outside can increase the amount of blood flow to the eyes which can help them to stay healthier as the child ages. The exposure to natural light when children are young can help develop normal eye health.
This includes a decrease in the risk for nearsightedness. Since the 1970s, the United States among other countries has seen an uptick in the number of people diagnosed with nearsightedness. However, spending time outdoors may reduce that risk in kids and adolescents.
The 2012 study showed that the risk of nearsightedness went down by 2 percent for every extra hour the child plays outside each week.
Researchers could not find a correlation between the number of hours a child spent on “near work” (studying, playing on computers, etc.) with the time they spent outdoors, as far as it relates to nearsightedness.
Though there are obviously many benefits for children who are encouraged to play outside daily, there are also some risks too. Exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun can do more than just cause a child to turn red. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause serious to the child’s skin and eyes.
Experts suggest wearing a hat and sunglasses that offer UV protection whenever you have direct exposure to the sun. These recommendations go for children as well as adults. As of now, researchers haven’t seen that UV rays are important to eye health.
Giving children the opportunity to be active outside, doing whatever they want, is more important than having them participate in some type of organized sport.