Q: Between my kids and my full time job, how do I find more time to spend outside?
A: It’s not about finding more time, it’s about making use of the time that you do have. When you’re at work, look for opportunities to get outside. Use your break to take a quick walk around the block. It’s a great chance to get away from your computer, clear your mind and stretch your muscles. Once you get home, look for opportunities to get outside with the kids. If you have school age children, why not take them for a walk on one of our many greenways or around the walking trail in Centennial Park? It’s a great time to tie nature or the environment into one of their homework projects or an excellent opportunity to bond and nurture your kids.
Q: How can I encourage my kids to get away from the computer and get outside?
A: I know that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and computer games have captured the interest of many in our society. However, when it comes to our children we have to help them develop a healthy balance between the digital age and real life, meaningful experiences. I would encourage you to look for activities that your children will have fun doing outside. You can go to our website and look at a variety of volleyball, kickball, softball, basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming, tennis, and other programs that will help your child learn a sport, develop a skill, understand team work, and get some
exercise – all while being outside.
Q: How does being outside help my stress levels?
A: There is no question that being outside helps to eliminate the stress often brought about by office environments and other tense situations. Studies have shown that being outside helps regulate and sometimes boost our levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps us feel less anxious and depressed. People who spend time outside tend to have higher levels of endorphins – the brain chemical often associated with feeling good. You also do your lungs and your body a favor when you are outdoors. Indoor air is more likely to be polluted. Fresh air is rich in negative ions that are linked to heightened awareness and alertness, decreased anxiety, and a lower resting heart rate. Being outside also gives you a mental break allowing you to take the focus off the problem long enough to perhaps approach it in a fresh manner or find a solution. But the best thing about being outside – it’s free!