You've got your gear, you've got a long winter ahead of you- and now you've got three more reasons to spend as much time as possible out in the chilly weather!
Outdoor play during the winter months is a great way to combat cold and flu season. Though our elders usually share priceless pearls of wisdom with us, "you'll catch your death of cold" is not one that has held up. In fact, not only does cold/wet weather NOT make you sick, but spending time out in the elements might actually help boost your health during the winter months. Read on to remind yourself of three reasons to head out into the winter wonderland with the kiddos:
1. Escape Airborne Illness-Causing Viruses
The tiny organisms that make us sick circulate in closed-air environments and are the culprit behind your family's winter illnesses. By heading outside and breathing in fresh air, we can escape the environment that harbors illness-causing pathogens.
2 Avoid Close-Quarters and Surface Contact
Those pesky little flu bugs are spread when sent airborne via a cough, sneeze, or even a hearty laugh. Young children (and some adults!) lack the personal hygiene skills to cover their coughs/sneezes, avoid touching their noses and mouths, and to keep from directly sharing drool and mucus with their friends and loved ones. Even with careful cleaning, viruses can live on doorknobs, toys, and other indoor surfaces. Heading out into the open air gives us the space we need to avoid sharing any airborne and surface-dwelling viruses that might be in our environment. The best place a group of children can be to avoid sharing illness is outside, even when it's cold!
3. Outdoor Play Is Great Preventative Medicine
The extra-active, aerobic large motor play that is likely to occur outdoors is a great boost to your immune system, right in time for cold and flu season. Heck, even just walking in all those layers and deep snow is a workout! The cardiovascular benefits of vigorous outdoor activity actually gives your immune system a power surge for 24 hours after you come back inside.
See you out there!
When not working with children and their caregivers, "Lady" Lisa and her family enjoy exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches that surround their northern Michigan home. She holds a masters degree in early childhood studies, a graduate certificate in teaching adults in the early childhood field, and accreditation in wilderness safety and the forest school ethos.