The outdoor gym class

Notes from the North Woods

A future, Varsity Bass Fishing athlete shows off his prowess with the long rod during a session of off season training!

A future, Varsity Bass Fishing athlete shows off his prowess with the long rod during a session of off season training!

Fortunately, there are a lot of other studies to back it up. Check out the highlights from some recent studies:

• Unstructured free play brings cognitive, social and health benefits to children.

• Unstructured free play in the outdoors brings a host of benefits to children ranging from being smarter, to more cooperative to becoming healthier overall.

• The study builds a strong case for the importance of unstructured free play in the out-of-doors for all age groups, and especially young children. The authors cite cognitive benefits from play in nature, including creativity, problem-solving, focus and self-discipline.

• Social benefits include cooperation, flexibility, and self-awareness. Emotional benefits include stress reduction, reduced aggression and increased happiness. Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors.

• Being outdoors is important to our overall health and the evidence reveals that contact with natural surroundings promotes healthier social behavior and lessens social dysfunction, improves resilience, helps to alleviate stress, promotes optimal psychological functioning, improves recovery from physical trauma, and reduces mortality.

However, a study that really caught my eye details the benefits of outdoor skills education and wildlife-related outdoor education. It indicates outdoor skills education supports our health, learning, and lifestyle. In addition, the authors note a significant relationship exists between outdoor skills education and lifelong participation in fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits.

In a review, the authors discussed evidence regarding the benefits of outdoor skills education, including improved interpersonal and interpersonal skills, environmental awareness, physical, mental, and social health; the ability to learn and concentrate and stewardship ethics in regard to hunting and fishing.

The study authors also noted indicators of recruitment and retention in these outdoor activities, which include early life experiences, mentorship, and structured programs that are culturally appropriate and more holistic and ecologically oriented.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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