I spend a lot of time out in the woods, running, mountain biking, and sliding around on the ice. In the summer I spend a fair amount of time riding my bike along the side of the road, too. And I’m always struck by how few people are outside. I don’t mean just walking from the house to the car, or from the parking lot into Wal-Mart, but actually outside. When the roads are not snowy or icy, I try to ride my bike to run errands right in town. And most weekends, Eric walks into the center to run errands, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm. Where are all the people?
I spotted this picture on Facebook last week, and it got me thinking. Tim Gill writes a blog called Rethinking Childhood. He writes about the shrinking role that outdoor play holds in the life of most children. That is a bigger topic than I want to get into here, but I think it’s true for adults, too. Why are we indoors? Do we really have less time than previous generations? Is the world more dangerous for adults out alone? Are we just soft and wimpy?
Maybe just soft and wimpy. During the dreaded “Polar Vortex” of the last week, newspapers and the internet were full of warnings to stay inside or risk hypothermia and frostbite. Every hot summer day brings a warning from the same places to stay inside where the air conditioning is so you don’t suffer from heat stroke or dehydration. Let’s be a little realistic here. People everywhere work outside in all kinds of weather. And even pampered people pay big bucks to ski in very cold weather, or go the the beach when it’s very hot, So, obviously, we just choose to stay inside.
I spend a lot of time at work trying to get the parents sitting in chairs out on the floor to workout. A common excuse is “I don’t have time.” While your kid is safely engaged in their karate class, you have time to workout, or better yet, go outside for a walk, or just stand out in the parking lot and collect some sunshine.
When my kids were small, I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning to run before Eric went to work, and we used to go to karate on alternate nights so somebody was always home with the kids. Make time. Do you watch television? I’m guessing the answer is yes, because people are usually shocked to hear that I don’t. Why not turn off the television and go for a walk, run, or ride? So you work all day? Get up a bit earlier and run. Walk after work. Or take your lunch break as walking time. If your kids are little, put them in a stroller or backpack and take them out with you.
Another amusing thing I hear from people is that being outside when it’s cold or wet will make you sick. Wrong!! Bacteria and viruses make you sick. I have no scientific evidence for this, but find that the winters I get outside most days, I rarely get sick. Working out regularly is an awesome thing. Taking it outside as often as possible is even more awesome. Get back in touch with the outdoors.
I want to leave you with one last thought. Don’t be this guy. Go outside!