The great outdoors

It seems even a little wilderness goes a long way when it comes to kids' wellbeing.

It's universally accepted that modern lifestyles mean many children spend much less time roaming outdoors than previous generations. And as well as well-documented problems like increasing obesity and lack of fitness, now experts agree that a lack of outdoor time affects children's mental wellbeing too.

American writer Richard Louv, author of the book, Last Child in the Woods, claims that 64% of today's kids who play outside less than once a week could be suffering from what he calls 'nature deficit disorder'.

According to Louv, dozens of studies now suggest that time spent playing in the wild results in impressive health benefits, including improved concentration, self-discipline and creativity, not to mention better psychological and emotional wellbeing.

In fact, a study from the University of Essex suggests that just five minutes of outdoor exercise boosts mental wellbeing and self esteem. And the best bit is that there's no special equipment or kit required. Other than a muddy pair of wellies!

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