Is there anything sweeter than a child's smile? In a world full of handheld computers and addictive games, it can be hard to connect with kids or grandchildren. Even harder is finding something fun and beneficial for everyone to enjoy. It's so often preached that we need more exercise and fresh air, but not always clear as to ways to employ those actions. The first step is as simple as stepping through your door. A simple walk can be turned into a healthy afternoon with lifelong memories.
Just being outdoors can bring physical and mental health benefits to people of every age. Just slowing down and looking at the nature around you is an effective stress buster. These benefits range from vitamins to hormonal changes and emotional improvements. For example, your vitamin D levels rise. According to Harvard Health Publications, "sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D." This can help fight osteoporosis, depression and even heart attack.
Playing, walking, jumping and moving in general happens more when you get up and go outside. All this movement, as opposed to sitting indoors, brings the myriad of benefits of exercise. Not just with the same view as a treadmill at the gym either. This is enjoyable fitness for all. Even the National Wildlife Federation states the wide range of benefits of playing outside for kids of all ages. However, exercise has benefits for people of all ages and not just the young. And no one is too old to start their exercises, even for people over 60 who have never done sports before. Just take it slow and easy, and build up slowly. It’s even nicer if you can find a buddy to share the exercise with.
Don't let uncertainty or lack of ideas stop you enjoying time outdoors with your children or grandchildren. Start with a walk. A walk can be so much more than just walking. Turn your walk into:
- A scavenger hunt
- An artistic excursion - collect leaves, twigs and more for creating collages on your return home
- Bird watching
- People watching
Most importantly, a walk can be the perfect place for conversation. Tell stories of when you were little, when the kids were little or make up a completely fictional adventure. Encourage the children's imaginations and invite them to come up with stories or games. The possibilities are absolutely endless. Life comes at us, and goes by so quickly. It's crucial to make each day the best possible. Make it fun for you, your children and grandchildren just by stepping outdoors.