Outdoor activities are down in participation, especially when you include population growth factor adjustment in the figures over the past 30 years. What are the results of this? Vitamin D deficiency (found in some foods and sunlight) is in 3/4 of Americans. 1/3 of American’s are Obese, 69% of Americans are Overweight (including Obese). 6% of Americans are diabetic, and this number is growing. 31% of American’s have High Blood Pressure.
Over part of a lifetime, overweight leads to knee and hip replacements, having put the additional pressure on the joints while walking wearing them out much quicker.
Simply, American’s must become physically active once again. My doctor read in a book that at one time all human’s were the equivalent of what we call a triathlete today. You had to run to catch your food. You had to pack up everything you owned (which wasn’t much) and follow the heard or seasons carrying all of that stuff long distances. You had to get wood to have the fire to cook your food. Compare that to today, where you drive a block to go to the grocery store, then drive back home.
You’ve heard all of these numbers before, and it is time for you and your family to act.
The outdoors are calling for you. The outdoors needs you. Each day, an adventure awaits you.
Example 1 – recently my family went hiking in the Smokey Mountain National Forest. Our first hike was 1.3 miles up a hill to a waterfall. It struck me odd that the trees were all 8″ to 26″ in diameter, I was expecting to see really large trees (not sequoia or redwood size, but really big). A U.S. Ranger explained that the entire 500,000 acres of the Smokey Mountains were owned by five logging companies that stripped the mountain ranges clear of trees. When they were done, the land had little value. The Federal Government bought the land at a low price seventy-five years ago. So all of the trees are less than 75 years old.
Could I have learned this watching TV? Playing computer games, or surfing the internet? Probably. But seeing it, living it, sharing it with my family was more challenging. We had to hike, on relatively hard paths, that landing your foot on a flat surface was hard to find.
Example 2 – While there, we went whitewater rafting. Only, when we got to the launch area the water was a calm little creek. Right next to a hydroelectric dam. We waited until the heat of the day increased, causing people to turn on their air conditioners, which causes the gates to open in the dam releasing the water to run through the turbines. Suddenly, this little creek turns into a bubbling cauldron! It’s time to launch the rafts and go a bouncing!
Example 3 – My community schools have a “TV Turn Off Week” annually. We did it each year. How did it work out? The biggest observation we made was that our two kids went from regular teasing and annoying each other, to becoming the best of friends. They were peas in a pod. Laughing and enjoying each others company. This occurred before the internet and handheld devices became popular. The socialization factor improved without electronics. Real discussions are much better than “social media.”
Sailing offers many challenges as well. But it requires turning off the 300 channels of TV, disconnect from the internet, put down the handheld devices, do a lot of bending and flexing, pulling and tugging, balancing, climbing, hauling and with the right effort there is little time to just sit. You get the sun, rain, the wind, the temperature fluctuations, night, steering , trimming, ongoing maintenance, cleaning, swimming, fishing, and real social media – talking with your loved ones or friends you took sailing for the day.
Meaningful conversations, that run deep into topics will occur. Not meaningless 7 word sentence blasted back and forth all day long. You’ll connect with people again, you’ll drift away from the momentary media sensationalized emotion expressing topic of the day (a Kardashian got a haircut – whoop-de-do).
Every outdoor activity is calling for you and your family, turn off the electrons, and turn on your minds. Go camping, hiking, running, biking, golfing, swimming, and more importantly sailing (my personal bias). Become the solution to national healthcare, lower your blood pressure, lower your weight, increase your tolerance to disease. By getting outside, you won’t even consider it a “weight loss program” but by just being active all day long, weight loss will occur naturally.
Please, please, please, give sailing a try. Your life and your family members lives depends on it!
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