Risk and Reward: Engaging Play – Nature Based Solutions for Our Children

A recent study has shed light on the significant health benefits of engaging in natural activities as opposed to non-natural ones. The research findings suggest that individuals engaging in play in natural playgrounds are 30 to 39 times less likely to experience a hospital visit per 10,000 hours of use, compared to those engaging in non-natural activities such as playing on metal and plastic playgrounds.

The study conducted by researchers at Cornell, Berkeley, and Winnipeg has brought to light an intriguing revelation about the health benefits associated with natural activities. Whether it’s spending time in nature, taking part in outdoor sports, or engaging in sensory experiences, the data suggests a remarkable decrease in the likelihood of hospital visits. This finding provides valuable insights into the potential of nature play to enhance overall well-being and reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

One of the most striking findings of the research is the substantial decrease in the risk of catastrophic injuries associated with natural activities. Participants engaged in natural activities were found to be 3,000% less likely to suffer severe injuries compared to those involved in non-natural activities. This points to the inherent safety and protective factors associated with spending time in nature or engaging in sensory experiences, highlighting the importance of such activities for promoting physical health and well-being.

The impact of sensory engagement on risk assessment and cognitive functioning is another crucial aspect highlighted by the study. The way playgrounds are designed needs to be looked at and using more natural playground equipment is one step we can take in reducing the injuries. It is suggested that sensory engagement in natural activities significantly alters individuals’ perceptions, leading to improved cognitive engagement and better risk assessment abilities. This underscores the positive influence of natural environments on cognitive processes and overall mental well-being, providing a compelling argument for the inclusion of natural activities in our daily lives.

The findings of the study present a compelling case for the numerous health benefits associated with natural activities. From reducing the likelihood of hospital visits to mitigating the risk of catastrophic injuries and enhancing cognitive functioning, the evidence unequivocally supports the positive impact of engaging in natural experiences. These insights not only inform individual choices but also have broader implications for public health policies and initiatives aimed at promoting the integration of natural activities into daily routines. As we strive to optimize health and well-being, the significance of nature and sensory engagement cannot be overstated. The need for natural playground training to highlight their benefits and to understand risky play and its advantages for proper healthy child development is becoming more paramount for the future.

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