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Playing outdoors offers physical, mental health benefits

Focus, creativity increase with exposure to fresh air
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dr. Janice GreeneThe increased use of computers, cell phones and video games at early ages has kept children plugged in, indoors and checked out of reality. While fresh air has long been recognized for clearing your head, recent research has also shown a positive correlation between playing outdoors and creativity in children, according to Dr. Janice Greene, professor of biology at Missouri State University and director of the Bull Shoals Field Station.

“Studies are finding that being outdoors for as little as a half hour to an hour can increase focus and creativity,” said Greene. She also noted both stress levels and blood pressure decreases in individuals who venture outside for fresh air.

When children are plugged into technology or indoors for a long period, Greene said it will take some time for children to reach a creative state when they go outdoors.

“There is a transition period where they have to shift from everything being given to them to being able to make up games and things like that,” she said. “You have to allow that time. But if they’re given outdoors time on a consistent basis, it’s much easier for them to develop that creativity.”

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College of Natural and Applied Sciences
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences incorporates more than 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs along with one cooperative program offered through a partnership with Missouri S&T. The academic departments that make up the college include: biology; chemistry; computer science; engineering; geography, geology and planning; hospitality and restaurant administration; mathematics; and physics, astronomy and materials science. Students have the opportunity for intense hands-on research and internships through a number of outreach and research centers and work alongside faculty who are producing cutting-edge research in their fields.
 
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