3205 W Skippack Pike
Lansdale, PA 19446

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(484) 998.4444

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(610) 584.1000


Becoming an Outsider

Becoming an Outsider

Becoming an Outsider

When we were kids, most of us were encouraged to play outside. This was a no-brainer for me, growing up in the mountains. I remember my parents looking at me like I had grown a second head when I was inside the house on a nice day.

My grandmother used to make lunch and put it on the porch for us, so we could run by and pick it up while we were fishing, building forts, dangling our feet into the lake from the dock, or hiding in the twisted trunks of the rhododendron grove. I even used to nestle into a field of ferns to read during the summer days.

Many of the residents I talk to have fond memories of the outdoors themselves, even those who grew up in the city. From hopscotch and jump rope to stickball and handball, they, too, spent the majority of their childhood outside.

But something happens to many of us when we become adults. Suddenly, the lion’s share of our time gets spent in an office, in a kitchen, in a living room. The outdoors becomes a place where we have to do chores like cutting the grass, weeding, or taking care of a pool used almost primarily by our kids. We can’t wait to get inside to “relax.”

I’m here to tell you, it’s time to get back to our childish ways and become outsiders again!

The outdoors–whether in the woods, in the backyard, or walking through city streets–does great things for your body and your mind.

First, it helps you get much-needed vitamin D. According to WebMD, vitamin D is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system. Your body needs sunlight to make it, but you don’t need much. In the summer, just getting sun for 5 to 15 minutes, a few times a week should do it. (In the winter, you need a bit more.)

The second thing being outside does for your health is that it encourages exercise. Walking over inclines in a park or up and down steps in a city gets your heart pumping. Playing lawn games, swimming, gardening, or biking is not only enjoyable, but burns calories and builds muscle.

It’s also good for your social life. You don’t meet new people while you’re sitting on your couch!

And it helps you sleep better, too, by helping reset your sleep cycle. Being outside gets the body’s internal clock working right, which is especially important as you get older because your eyes are less able to absorb light, which makes you more likely to have sleep problems.

Finally, the outdoors is great for your mental health, too. It’s known to lessen anxiety and boost your self-esteem by raising serotonin levels in your brain. It’s a boon to creativity, as well, as it can increase problem-solving abilities by engaging your brain in non-screen activities, and helps you refocus your attention.

Here’s a challenge for you: If you’re not an outdoors person, try to spend just an additional 15 minutes a day outside, and see what it does for you. Maybe it’ll take you back to those childhood days of fresh air and sunshine, stickball, hopscotch, and lunches waiting on the porch…

Until we meet…