MUD FUN GOOD FOR HEALTH

Study shows out­door play good for kids

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE -

GROW­ING up in the west comes with its fair share of frol­ick­ing in the mud.

Now sci­en­tists have found that play­ing in the dirt is as im­por­tant for chil­dren’s men­tal health as it is for build­ing up im­mu­nity.

Mix worms, mud and add some hair of the dog and you have the recipe for busting stress, a study by the Univer­sity of Colorado Boul­der has found.

Chil­dren raised in ru­ral en­vi­ron­ments, sur­rounded by an­i­mals and bac­te­ria, grow up to have more stress-re­silient im­mune sys­tems and are likely to be at lower risk of men­tal ill­ness than pet-free city dwellers, ac­cord­ing to the Pro­ceed­ings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hyahno Moser, pro­gram man­ager for Na­ture Play Queens­land, makes sure his son Ral­phie, 2, gets dirty.

“Never be­fore... have kids been so clean,” he said.

“We’re learn­ing more and more about the ben­e­fits of kids play­ing out­side. It is not just about hav­ing heaps of fun – na­ture is a wonder.”

PHOTO: JULIE SCOTT

MUDDY GOOD TIME: Liam Goodrich in the mid­dle of a mud and sea­weed fight with fam­ily mem­bers.

PHOTO: JES­SICA MOR­TON

The Mor­ton fam­ily en­joys fresh mud.

PHOTO: TAMMY HAR­LAND.

Lau­ren and Claire Har­land make a splash.

PHOTO: JULIE SCOTT

Jake Goodrich en­joys dig­ging for tad­poles.

PHOTO: JOE LID­DELL

By­ron and Cailum aren’t afraid of the dirt.

PHOTO: LEIGH CORINA PUKALLUS

A mud day for this lit­tle one.

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