Everyone my age has surely heard these words — probably repeatedly. But did we tell it to our kids? Not according to a recent study. ONLY 10 PERCENT of TEENS spend time outside every day of the week. That fact astounds me.
Our mothers had it right. We would spend hours “playing” in the back yard; jumping on the trampoline, as I reported in my last post, but even before that, making up games and jumping rope. A young doctor I know told me she hands out jump ropes to obese children who are her patients and she has to explain what to do with them. Remember all the jump rope rhymes? They were used all across the U.S. I have a book from the 70s that recorded them and documented the regional differences! Kids today never heard of them. And Double Dutch just sounds like a lunch date with someone from The Netherlands.
Studies show that communing with nature has proven health benefits. Another recent study I just read showed that city dwellers who lived nearer to parks or other green spaces were healthier — less prone to diseases and depression– than people who lived further from the green, even if they did not recreate in the green areas.
Many of the problems people are having today are dubbed “inside problems” by scientists and health care providers. Stress, depression, overeating can all be curbed by a walk around the block. Just looking at nature can boost your health. Creative juices start to flow again with a calming interaction with nature. Our mothers always knew this and now scientists have proven it.
How are we going to ensure that our kids and our grandchildren get outside enough? Maybe instead of taking a vacation day for shopping or an amusement park, a bike ride or even a picnic in a local park could be considered. There are the many wonderful National Parks and National Monuments scattered all over the country to be considered as vacation destinations — but I will write more about that in my next blog.
We’ve got to lead by example. Now go outside and play . . . Or at least look at the beautiful spring flowers and trees.
© Jane F. Collen May 31, 2016 step into the green!