Families should make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time together in the outdoors, according to leading youth charity YHA (England and Wales).

Having adventures together outside promotes positive family relationships as well as helping children become happier, healthier and more confident.

“By getting outdoors and having adventures together you also provide an opportunity to reconnect and create shared memories, which are vital for family harmony and wellbeing,” explained University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Karen Pine, who is championing YHA’s Adventure Effect campaign.

The campaign responds to a growing body of research which shows that stress, anxiety and depression amongst young people are higher than ever before. A study conducted by Natural England in 2016 suggests only 1 in 5 children regularly play outside, but just 5 minutes of ‘green exercise’ can improve a child’s mental wellbeing, according to a multi-study analysis by Environmental Science & Technology.

Professor Pine continued: “A walk outside produces a lift in mood in just five or ten minutes. The endorphins that walking produces in the brain are the best natural stress buster. Connecting with others is also vitally important for warding off a low mood. Build in some form of adventure and the physical exercise and social contact will bring huge health benefits.”

Time together outdoors could also be the antidote to the decline of the family meal in contemporary Western society. Professor Pine added: “Having a meal together as a family has become a thing of the past and this was traditionally the time when everyone could discuss the day they’ve had, download their worries, reconnect and give each other support.”

To help more families benefit from the transformational power of travel, adventure and time spent together outdoors, YHA is offering 25% off the cost of accommodation in selected YHA properties between 1 January – 27 April 2019. Stays must be booked online at www.yha.org.uk  before 31 January 2019 using the code JAN-019.

In recent years, YHA has invested millions of pounds in its accommodation to create modern, private en-suite family rooms. James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales) said: “We’re passionate about transforming young lives through travel and real adventure. We know the experiences we deliver through our network of youth hostels make a very real difference to young people and their families. I hope families will take advantage of the offer and take the opportunity to stay with us and reconnect with each other after a busy festive season.”

• To find out more about the Adventure Effect, visit: www.yha.org.uk/adventureeffect

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