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Why Spending Time Out in Nature is Important For Teens?

Why Spending Time Out in Nature is Important For Teens?

Are you wondering how nature therapy at Nexus Teen Academy can benefit your teenager? 

Nature therapy can help counteract the adverse effects of excessive screen time caused by technological advancements. Today, teenagers spend significant time surfing the internet, playing video games, or using social media. However, it is important to balance their lives by introducing them to the healing power of nature. At Teen Mental Health Treatment Center in Arizona, we believe in enhancing the overall well-being of teens by incorporating nature therapy into their daily routines. Interaction with nature through outdoor activities bears remarkable evidence-based benefits to teens, according to various studies, including those by the University of Minnesota and Yale’s 360.

This article delves into the healing power of nature and reasons why adolescents need outdoor time. Keep reading to discover nature’s physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits in your teen’s life!

How Exposure to Nature Affects the Teens Brain

Most people do not realize nature’s significant impact on the teen’s brain. If you’ve never heard of “Nature Deficit Disorder,” it’s how a lack of sufficient exposure to nature can cause health issues. Too much screen time denies teenagers exposure to nature, thus putting them at risk of suffering from this condition.

The ecopsychology principle explains nature’s healing power through its connection to human beings, an essential aspect of naturopathic medicine. According to the biophilia hypothesis, human beings have an inherent relationship with nature, which produces considerable emotional, cognitive, and health benefits when cultivated.

Let’s now explore the various benefits of outdoor time for adolescents.

Physical Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Adolescents

Outdoor time offers tremendous physical benefits to your teen:

  • Outdoor activities are a natural gym for adolescents. As your teen participates in outdoor activities such as jogging, walking, biking, or hiking, their heart rate increases, and they pump blood slightly faster, which is healthy for them. These activities also strengthen the cardiovascular system and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Outdoor time exposes your teen to natural light and physical exertion. Such exposure boosts their immune system by enabling it to adapt to various environments.
  • Adolescence is an important stage for growth in humans. Outdoor environments offer natural resistance, contributing to a stronger and more resilient body. Challenging physical activities promote muscle growth and development for your teen.
  • Excess screen time is known to cause a sedentary lifestyle. Engagement in outdoor activities helps your teen balance screen time and green time.
  • Research indicates there has been a rise in teen obesity in recent years. Outdoor activities like rock climbing can help your teen burn calories, offering an antidote for obesity.
  • Your teen’s exposure to natural light helps regulate sleep patterns. Their overall health improves through the achievement of a proper circadian rhythm.
  •  Exploring terrestrial landscapes aids in motor skill development.

Mental and Emotional Benefits of Nature for Adolescents

Stress Reduction and Coping Mechanisms

Nature reduces cortisol levels, a notorious stress hormone. Exposure to nature facilitates a natural reset for the teenage mind, thus providing an escape from the demands of everyday life. Your teen can also enjoy the therapeutic experience that comes from the sounds, colors, smells, and textures in a natural setting. Furthermore, engaging in complex outdoor activities enables your teen to build the resilience required to deal with life’s challenges.

Cognitive Development and Academic Performance

Even a simple walk in the park will heal the stress! According to the Attention Restoration Theory, exposure to nature establishes a therapeutic experience, enabling the brain to recover from exhaustion caused by constant work-based stimuli. As a result, your teen stands to gain more long-term focus simply by regularly connecting with nature.

The cognitive benefits reaped from a connection with nature extend to the classroom. Exposure to nature gives your teen significant problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which puts them in a better place to understand challenging academic concepts.

Social Benefits of Nature for Adolescents

Nature offers an opportunity for team building. Whether your teen is working to solve a challenge or camping with others, those experiences allow them to develop interpersonal communication and collaboration, which are key social skills.

While interacting with natural surroundings, your teen can appreciate the relationships between living things. This increased awareness transforms into increased empathy, a core aspect of emotional intelligence.

Moreover, most teens need better interpersonal skills due to little or no interaction with others. Interaction with nature takes your teen away from the distractions of normal life spent on social media and allows them to engage in face-to-face communication. These effective communication skills learned outside can be helpful in both academic and personal settings.

Environmental Awareness and Responsibility

Teenagers face numerous challenges that do not allow them to connect with nature. One way to help your teen navigate challenges is by encouraging interaction with nature. Your teen can improve their ecological consciousness by spending more time outside in natural surroundings. Interacting with nature allows your teen to learn and appreciate the beauty of it, which gives them a sense of connection to the earth.

Imagine your teen learning sustainable practices from interacting with nature. Research indicates that exposure to nature introduces eco-friendly habits in teens, thus shaping their engagement and perception of sustainability.

Safety and Supervision Concerns

As you encourage your teen to embrace the healing power of nature, it is important to address the balance between safety and independence. Below are a few tips to consider:

  • Although your teen develops resilience and self-reliance while engaging in outdoor activities, they must do so under proper supervision. This is about ensuring your teen’s safety and not restricting their independence.
  • You can also help your teen choose appropriate outdoor activities and locations depending on their unique needs, interests, and preferences. Nature walks, camping, and hiking are great choices to consider.
  • Ensure you educate your teen on the potential risks of outdoor time. Tell them about potential weather changes, basic first aid, and wildlife encounters. This will instill responsibility during outdoor activities.
  • It is also crucial that your teen wears and carries the right gear, such as weather-appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear, and a first aid kit. These can help alleviate some risks and concerns.

Integrating Nature into Educational Systems

When it comes to teen education, it is not just about classroom learning; adolescent learning requires a holistic approach that incorporates nature-based learning. Nature-based education undoubtedly has remarkable advantages, as outlined above. The same can be harnessed by incorporating nature into teen educational systems. Your teen may experience increased enthusiasm for learning with this approach.

Take a moment to look at some successful programs incorporating outdoor learning, such as Nexus Teen Academy. These programs offer a holistic approach to teen challenges by integrating nature into their treatment programs, thus producing better results than traditional interventions.

Addressing Challenges and Solutions

Are there challenges? Absolutely! However, you can overcome these challenges with the right support. Schools and parents can partner with institutions such as Nexus Teen Academy to establish supportive networks that believe in the power of nature-based education.

It is time to work together!

Conclusion

Working with nature offers tremendous benefits to adolescents, ranging from emotional intelligence and cognitive development to physical well-being and environmental awareness. As a parent, you can educate and encourage your teen to embrace green time and appreciate nature’s beauty. With proper information and guidance, your teen can tap into the healing power of nature and develop crucial coping skills required to navigate complex life challenges.

Now is the time to help your teen balance technology and nature. Help your teen prioritize outdoor time for their mental health, and help nurture a generation of emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically strong teenagers! Contact Nexus Teen Academy to help you each step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” relevant to teenagers in today’s digitized era?

Teens spend most of their time on screens, thus reducing outdoor time, which can lead to this deficiency among teenagers.

2. Can outdoor activities help in developing specific life skills in teenagers?

Yes, outdoor activities help teens build resilience and develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills.

3. How can parents encourage teens who show resistance to spending time outdoors?

Parents can encourage outdoor time by listening to their teens’ opinions, choosing activities that align with their teens’ needs, explaining the benefits of nature, and incorporating nature-based activities into their teens’ lives. Incorporating the whole family into these activities is another way to encourage your teen.

4. Is there a recommended duration of outdoor time for optimal benefits, and how frequently should teens engage in outdoor activities?

The duration depends on the specific needs of every teen. It should, however, be regular and consistent. Most experts recommend about 120 minutes per week of outdoor time for teens.

5. Are there differences in the impact of nature exposure between rural and urban environments for adolescents?

Whether in urban or rural areas, exposure to nature positively impacts teens.

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