Making Good Health Fun

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Making Good Health Simple: Your only directive this summer: Go outside

Crystal Reynolds

Tuesday 02 Jul. 2019

Why does outside get such a bad rap sometimes? Growing up, that was the only directive from our mom every non-school day.

“Go outside.”

That’s it. Not another word, and we knew that we were not to return prematurely unless we were bleeding (I am not talking scraped elbow or knee, I am talking trickling blood that you couldn’t stop by applying pressure from a nearby leaf). As a child I loved everything about outside. Sun, wind, cold, it didn’t matter. We actually hoped for rain and had several choreographed dances to try to get the sky to open up. When our rain dances proved to be ineffective, my sisters and I would run around like bandicoots making paths in the woods, building teepees out of sticks, baking mud pies, playing tag, hide-and-seek and any other game we could think of.

As I grew older there were things about outside that started to bother me – like black flies and snakes. When I became a mom, a few more items got added to the list, like poison ivy, mosquitoes and ticks. But now I look forward to the annual arrival of my hostas, my newly planted Japanese maple tree and our organic raised bed garden (I use the word “our” lightly; I pay and my son tends).

My current relationship with the outside is extraordinary. Although humidity and my hair aren’t friends, the White Mountains and I are besties. For those of you who are not huge fans of the infamous outside, start small. Go outside in 10-minute increments near your house or in your neighborhood. See the following seven tips to spell O-U-T-S-I-D-E.

O: Organize your priorities. Schedule in blocks of time every day to go outside. Pro tip: Don’t be a fair-weather fan. Being outside in the rain is super fun no matter what age you are.

U: Unplug and unwind and sit in the grass. Pro tip: Actually do it.

T: Take a walk, bike ride or nature walk. Pro tip: Make a plan to meet up with someone and bring your dog (If you don’t have one, you can borrow my yellow lab Stella) to increase your time spent outside.

S: Smell the flowers, fresh cut grass, the rain. Pro tip: Take a pair of scissors with you and make a bouquet of fresh blossoms.

I: Indulge in something new. Buy that new bike helmet, rent that paddle board, drive to the ocean. Pro tip: Follow your own summer bucket list (see last week’s Insider).

D: Draw, paint or bring a coloring book outside. Pro tip: Get some new colored pencils and a mandala to color.

E: Eat outside, have a picnic. Don’t worry about a fancy basket and a red plaid blanket. Pro tip: Order take-out and sit outside or find a restaurant with a patio.

If you’re still on the fence about spending time with Mother Nature, consider when looking back on life, no one remembers their best day of television.

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