There is nothing I love more about the first signs of spring than knowing I get to spend my free time at a park, basking in the sunshine. Spending time outdoors makes me feel so at peace, one with nature, care-free and above all, healthy. There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors that people aren’t even aware of because of convenient technologies and indoor facilities that soak up free time. An article from the National Wildlife Federation explains that the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes outside each day. Child obesity rates have doubled and the U.S. has become the leader in prescribing ADHD and depression medications because they are missing that vital connection to the green world.
I remember when I was a young child, it took all my willpower to listen to my mother to return inside after dark. I wanted to play outside with my sister and neighbors all day long, never wanting to return to the boring house. Today, when I start feeling the stress of school or peer relationships, the first thing I do is drive to a park so I can walk around and breathe deep instead of taking my frustration out on other people.
The green outdoors doesn’t just have to be limited to walking around and staring at the trees. You can meditate, go on a run or a jog, take a friend to a picnic and even bird watch if that’s your thing. My dog loves when I tell her we’re going on a walk because she knows she can sniff around for a good hour or two and investigate the mysterious smells of other animals while I inhale the fresh air and finally get a break from my computer or television screen. Go to the beach, go to a zoo, a park, a walk down the street or wherever you prefer that’s outside with someone you love because face-to-face communication is lacking in today’s world and being outside is a great way to reconnect.