Friday, June 21, 2013
Summer is a time to stand in the mirror and think: “Where did the years go?”
Often I wonder in amazement how time flies, never as much as in the summer. I see kids all over our beautiful city playing in Mill Creek or at one of our multiple parks just being young and carefree, unaware of the time and oblivious of the changes to come in the near future.
For my childhood, summer meant baseball. As an adult I find myself longing for the days of bicycle rides with my bat bag strapped over my shoulder going to our rotating games of homerun derby or over the line at one of the three Little League fields we used to have.
And I applaud those adults who still make time in their hectic day to find that youthful soul, even if only an hour, as they get outside and remain active.
In actuality, spending time outdoors doing childish things or games can be the easiest form of exercise. There are many ways families can be active and healthy. For example, a game of tag for 20 minutes with the entire family. Although not the most extreme exercise, tag is a calorie burner. It can elevate the heart rate, increase oxygen flow to your blood and make you smile the whole time.
Backyard games were the best memories of my childhood. For those of us with no children, we can enjoy the outdoors and get our exercise as well.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature the healthier you’re likely to be.
Being in a natural setting can also help increase your quality of sleep, as studies show that natural sunlight helps set the body’s internal clock that tells us when to eat and sleep, and normalizes hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day.
And we all know how important sleep is, not just for our health but even for weight loss.
So, throughout the summer find time to get outside, whether it’s playing with your family or just sitting in a lawn chair. Remember to put on some sun block and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells summertime offers.
One can always recapture moments of youth during the summer. After all, life is comprised of many moments little and big all strung together. Make the summer of 2013 your latest and greatest moment.
Nic Wiese is Walla Walla YMCA’s membership director.