Youth Energy Squad
Going Outside and Your Well-being
Spending time outside has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health, yet the amount of time the average person spends outside today is lower than any previous generation. During a time when many of us are spending even more time inside than we normally would, getting outside is as important as ever. In this activity we will be taking some time to get outside and learn about how going outside affects your body and mind.
Goals: Grade: K-12
Learn about what spending time outside can do for our health
Critically think about our own habits
Supplies Time: 30-40 minutes
Internet access (for video)
Writing utensil and paper for notes
First, take some time to watch this short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmqguIFMC-Y
(Optional) If you want more information on the importance of getting outside, and how the lack of outdoor time is impacting many young people watch this extra video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArhjLa4xbNk&t=385s
Next, take some time to find a nice spot to sit outside. Take 10-20 minutes to just sit. Make sure you put away your devices, or turn them off if you think you will be too tempted. Take some paper and something to write with to take notes about your observations.
What do you hear, small, feel? Are you tempted to look at your phone? As you sit there do you notice a change in your mood? Stress or anxiety?
When you are done, answer the following reflection questions.
What surprised you most about how spending time outdoors affects your body?
Do you feel the “winter blues”, or seasonal depression? Many people in colder climates like Michigan do. Why do you think this is? (Visit https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/sad.html to learn more about this.)
Did you find it hard not to check your phone when you were sitting outside? It’s ok if it was hard, but if so, think about the fact that it was only 10-20 minutes.
Do you think the amount of time we spend on screens is influencing how much time we spend outside? Why?
Think about the amount how easy or hard it is to find nature in Detroit. Do you think it is easier or harder for people living in urban areas, like Detroit, to spend time outside?
Do you think you would spend more time outside if there was more accessible nature in Detroit?
Think about your own habits. Do you think you take enough time to get outside?