Finding Joy in Action - "Get Out and Do Something

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Let me start here by saying the fact America has an epidemic of childhood obesity and kids who are so full of anxiety and depression is something that should concern us all.
I do applaud the first lady for making this her mission.
I have noticed the ads to stay active for an hour a day.
That is a good start and it is a good cause.
We all know there are great health benefits to exercise.
It keeps the heart healthy and helps ward off fat.
I would like to dig a little deeper in this article.
I fully acknowledge the physical benefits and it is something I incorporate into my own life.
After many years of training, I have also noticed other benefits from activity outside.
The spirit of adventure is something all children are born with.
Some more than others.
It is a great thing to see boys and girls running around and having fun.
The look of joy on their face is the exact opposite of the look on faces of adults driving to work.
That look of disgust and disdain is easy to see.
Just drive down any expressway in the morning and you will get a glimpse of what I mean.
That look is the look of the many driving to an office to earn a living.
It is necessary for many of us and my point is not to criticize work in an office.
My point is that we would be far happier if we got out of our houses on our off time and enjoyed the outdoors.
We get lazy and think 'I'm old and tired.
When I come home, I just want to watch TV.
' Well, that pattern of thought is fed to your kids and it is far from being healthy either mentally or physically.
I mentioned how it is not only physical health that activity outdoors can help.
Let me offer some insight on what I mean.
Going outside and playing gives kids a sense of adventure.
They learn they can do things and gain confidence in themselves.
Climbing a tree or riding a bike on a trail takes coordination and skill.
As kids see that they can master a skill, they grow confident in themselves.
They try to acquire more skills to further their new found activity because it is not only fun, but gives them a sense of purpose.
It is almost akin to receiving a good grade on a paper at school.
It builds real self esteem.
We have a nation of kids full of fear and doubt.
I believe this in large part is due to kids being stuck indoors 24/7 watching TV and playing video games.
Both of which offer nothing but low self worth.
Kids gain this worth by doing things that are new to them.
Sitting in a house only feeds this idea that the outdoors is something to be fearful of.
Does that sound healthy to you? You still wonder why we have a nation of kids who are depressed and full of anxiety? Sports offer this challenge to kids and many sports gives them a chance to go outside.
I applaud that, but it is not the same as going outside to play or do some of the activities I mentioned in the summary of this article above.
That need to feed the wonder and adventure kids are born with is best done with friends or family.
I applaud organized sports, but kids need activity outside of that as well.
I mention family and this may strike some of you as a little harsh.
I do not mean it that way so please understand this is only meant to help.
If you are not taking your kids outside to play with them, it is not too late.
Parents doing stuff outdoors with their kids really develop a bond.
They share an adventure and that type of thing leaves a lasting impression on kids as they grow into adulthood.
Going to the beach, hiking a trail together, or teaching your child how to ski are memories that last for a lifetime.
It helps the adult understand the child and that is something that has value that can't be measured.
Some of us live in a city and that makes it hard.
The key is to plan for events where you can enjoy the outdoors together.
It may be that it can't be done as often as people who live in the suburbs or country, but it can be done.
Kids who grow up with the outdoors as part of their lifestyle have a huge advantage in life.
Boys and girls who learn to value the outdoors are almost always more physically fit.
That is the cause of the first lady.
The exercise for an hour a day campaign is a great model.
The only addition I am throwing in here is that doing that outdoors is even better.
When we are involved in something we like to do, we can be active for hours on end and not even know it.
Riding a bike and playing seems to be a little better than leaving a kid locked up in a room watching junk TV, right? So we talked about the benefits outdoor activity has for boys and girls.
Let us talk about why adults need to 'play' outside.
Let's first talk about the biggest benefit.
It helps relieve mountains of stress.
Humans were not designed to be stuck indoors.
It goes against our very DNA.
Going outside to jog, hike, or bike gets us back in tune with nature and lets us focus on who we are.
This is important.
We are so used to being part of the 'Machine' that we forget that we are individuals.
Going outside and seeing nature helps us reconnect in a very deep way with all that isn't created by man.
Living in a city makes this harder, but we can always find a park or travel outside the city on the weekend.
Even walking on the sidewalk has it's rewards.
The activities we do outside can be endless.
I urge you to try new things.
Maybe you always wanted to surf.
Maybe you want to try skydiving.
Maybe you live near the mountains, but you never learned to ski or snowboard.
My advice is go do it.
You can face the challenge and build confidence in yourself.
That is what adds spice to life.
Doing something new that takes some courage.
I see kids skate boarding and it brings a big smile to my face.
Everyday these kids get better.
Do they risk injury? Yes they do, but they grow to know they have courage and are much more happy than a kid who sits in his room playing violent video games.
The kid who faces gravity knows what consequences are.
The kid playing video games 24/7 is in a fantasy land.
You tell me who is better prepared for life? I wonder what child or teen is more self confident and enjoys life? Its the same for adults.
People glued to a bar stool every weekend are rarely as happy or healthy as the adult who is out 'doing something'.
I do not mean this article as a means to criticize anyone.
I mean it as a vehicle to get you active so you enjoy life.
Life is an adventure, but that adventure is up to you.
Set your mind on exploring the outdoors.
Teach your kids to enjoy it.
I promise you it will bring a smile to your face.
It is how we are.
Look at the face of a boy or a girl who is visiting a beach for the first time in their life and playing around in the tide beach side.
Looks pretty natural does it not? That smile on their face isn't learned.
It is as natural as a dog running in a field.
It is a look of pure joy.
No counselor can offer you that kind of therapy.
It is free for you to go enjoy.
Take care.
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