Why We All Need to Go Out and Play

If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of being told that “we don’t get enough exercise.” While it’s true, the way its worded makes it sound like a chore worse than finding out what science project is growing in the back of the fridge.

I think we need to change the words we use when we talk about physical movement. It shouldn’t be just another chore. If it is, that aspect of it will add to our stress levels rather than break them. That attitude will also, eventually, make us stop.

It doesn’t have to be boring: If you still like baseball and/or softball, there are adult leagues. Some are community organized, some may be work based and some are among the different houses of worship in a community.

Find something you like: Maybe those old pursuits are overdone, or you aren’t physically capable of handling them anymore. That doesn’t mean you have to get back on a treadmill…unless it’s something you like.

Find an alternative. Spin classes, yoga, barre classes and other ingenious ways of getting moving are popping up all over. Even those who can’t stand can do chair aerobics if they’ve a mind to.

Why it’s important: The health benefits of exercise are well known. While I will mention them, they aren’t the point of this article. Proper exercise can improve health, drop the pounds and release stress.

However, going out to play is even more important. It gives you opportunities to bond with other people. Your relationships with your spouse, family, friends and coworkers can all be improved this way. Studies indicate that this bond is also important for improving your health.

What do you think would happen if you turned off the TV, the computer and left all phones behind for something fun outdoors? Play Frisbee with the kids (or the dog). Walk around the pond and feed the ducks. Disconnect from all the electronic leashes for an hour or so at least twice a week. I believe you will find yourself a happier person.

While we’re on the subject of the benefits of going out to play, let me pass on a word or two about sunshine. Despite the bad hype surrounding our star, it’s necessary for your health.

The natural light, with proper precautions, is good for your emotions. SAD is real, and the lights in your office aren’t enough. Your best source of Vitamin D is not milk; especially if you are lactose intolerant. It’s made naturally in your body by skin exposure to the sun. Yes, as mentioned, use proper precautions…but get out there.

You may need to discuss these suggestions with your doctor and a personal trainer. This is especially true if you have medical issues or take medications. Some medications can cause photosensitivity, which could make going out to play not such a good plan. However, for most of us, it’s the best way to get the exercise we need without having the “chore” aspect.

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