Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reason No. 18 to take kids day hiking: More effective exercise

Taking your kids on a day hike may increase the effectiveness of their exercise, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Essex in England found that cyclists reported an 8.3 percentage decrease in their feelings of fatigue after watching a video of green foliage, compared to a group of cyclists who watched video in black and white.

The upshot? Getting outdoors likely boosts mood, motivation, and self-enjoyment, the study notes. If you’re less fatigued, you may go farther than you would if playing indoors, even if that play includes a lot of tearing around.

However, the main factor in the boost appears to be the color green as opposed to nature itself, the study suggests. So hiking the desert may not increase the effectiveness of exercise as much as hiking in the mountains or other wooded area. Further, a hike during summer and late spring probably is more beneficial than one in winter or late fall.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.