Link between getting outdoors and healthcare

Published 9:42am Thursday, February 7, 2013

Now, how’s that for an innovative way to address our health care problems? We’ve always known that colds and the flu come from being inside with other people, where germs are passed around by our breath and on our hands. Most of us can remember our mothers telling us to “Go outside and play” both to get us out of her hair but also so that we could be in the fresh air. Dr. Spock recommended all children stay outside for at least two hours a day, a recommendation that I took so seriously that I parked baby Aaron outside for his nap every afternoon in his bassinet whenever it was not raining. On rainy days he slept on the screen porch. When it was cold, he slept under a blanket wearing a cap. Regardless of the weather, he breathed fresh air just as Dr. Spock recommended, and he was one very healthy little boy. In fact, it worked so well that we repeated the practice with the next two children.

We have a health care crisis in this country. Our country spends nearly double the amount per capita for health care than any other developed country in the world, yet ranks no better than 32nd in positive health results.

We have children who spend limitless hours inside with the electronic devices, but no time outside. Let’s take some positive responsibility for our health and get people outside, in the woods. It is much cheaper as a society to preserve forestland for public access and to build trails for young and old to use than it is to pay for hospital care.

We all know that what we do as children and young adults will affect our overall health for the rest of our lives, so let’s act accordingly. Go outside; walk in the woods; breathe. Imagine a country where more time and energy is spent on creating healthy lifestyles than on fixing the results of an unhealthy one. Just imagine….

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