The benefits of green exercise for children
Evidence suggests that the natural environment can play a role in promoting physical activity in children and young people; encouraging free play, which is essential to their health, wellbeing and development (Bird, 2007; Bowler et al., 2010). In adults, engaging in physical activity whilst exposed to natural environments also provides additive benefits for psychological health compared with physical activity in a non-natural environment or indoors (Pretty et al., 2005; 2007; Barton and Pretty, 2010; Thompson Coon et al., 2011). This chapter discusses the importance of natural environments for facilitating physical activity and spontaneous play in children and young people. It also compares the health benefits of green exercise in children to those evident in adults and assesses potential reasons for any differences. We address the issue of disconnection from nature and how to reconnect children to the outdoors.