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Let’s play:

Outdoor play options result in children spending more time outdoors exercising.
By Motherpedia
Date: April 30 2013
Tags: children, play,
Editor Rating:
Image Source:

A playground at Berrara, south of Nowra NSW

Living near an outdoor playground can predict a child’s level of physical activity and time spent outdoors, new research reveals.

A study entitled Children’s physical activity and parents’ perception of the neighbourhood environment published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Activity shows that a child will be more active and spend more time outdoors if they can easily access nearby neighbourhood playground facilities. Previous studies have drawn parallels between increased physical activity in children and lower levels of childhood obesity.

The study showed that children who lived closer to outdoor play areas were more likely to engage in physical activity for more than an hour per day for 5 or more days per week. Those who had a lack of nearby play areas were less likely to be active. Children living in areas that were safer and had more access to walk and cycle paths also used outdoor recreational spaces more than those who didn’t.

According to Matthew Penrose, Director of Austek Play – a commercial playground company – children enjoy outdoor playgrounds where they can meet and play with friends.

“Children of all ages spend hours swinging, climbing, balancing, digging, running and interacting with each other outdoors when they can,” said Mr Penrose.

“Previous research confirms that spending time outdoors playing in a natural environment can improve a child’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

“A 2009 study revealed that children living near two or more recreational facilities, including outdoor playgrounds, were involved in almost 17 more minutes of physical activity after school than children who lived near less than two.”

To date, Austek Play has been involved in the design, supply and installation of hundreds of playgrounds across New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Austek Play sources playground and outdoor fitness equipment from Australian company Omnitech Playgrounds and from Hags of Sweden.

“Growing up I always maintained an active lifestyle and now I enjoy watching my kids play outdoors,” said Mr Penrose.

“I believe in shared outdoor spaces because of the advantages they can have within a community, particularly in an age where childhood obesity is becoming the norm as our kids are spending more time indoors playing computer games.

“I want my children to have a healthy start in life while experiencing the same outdoor lifestyle my generation enjoyed as kids.

“Safety is also a huge factor and definitely something we aren’t willing to compromise when designing, supplying or installing playground equipment. Our playgrounds comply with all Australian standards and beyond.

“Our designs also include the latest devices to protect children from injuries that were commonplace 20 or 30 years ago.

“By making safety our utmost priority, we are ensuring that there is nothing other than bad weather that prevents children from reaping the benefits of playing safely on outdoor playground equipment.” 

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