Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reason No. 44 to hike: Better motor abilities

If your kindergartner is a little awkward, you may want to take her hiking. A 2004 study in Norway shows that play in natural areas improves the motor abilities of kindergartners.

The study compared children who played for 1-2 hours a day in a 19-acre forest to those who played on a traditional urban playground. After nine months of playing in these different environments, the children who spent their time in the forest improved in eight of nine motor skills. The urban playground group only improved in three of the nine motor skills.

While the forest group didn't improve in flexibility, they were significantly better than the playground group in coordination and balance.

Regular hiking exposes children to the same kinds of physical obstacles and challenges that the forest group faced.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.