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315 Second Dose 2010-12-03

hiking family

About a month ago I wrote an entry titled A Dose of Outdoors. I enjoyed writing the entry and at the time thought that I would need to revisit the subject probably several more times. My friend, Laura, sent me a link to a NYT article, Head Out for a Daily Dose of Green Space, and I believe it is time to take another dose.

Jake, our Golden Retriever, is as good of a dog as I can imagine. But, he was not always that way. During his puppy years through adolescence he was a handful. He wanted to play every day, all day. If he did not play, he would disrupt our lives. He would defiantly disobey. He would do things he knew were wrong and proudly show us he did it. He ran though the house disrupting the world. He was hyperactive.

In total despair, we found the answer - we would wear him out. We walked him until he seemed tired. We played fetch with him until his tongue drug the ground. We ran with him until he started trying to stop for breaks. If we sensed he still had excessive energy, we exercised some more. In a sense we used exercise to cure his hyperactivity.

Children, today, have many excuses for having a hyperactive disorder or ADD. Being left alone to the the grips of the electronic media for up to 7.5 hours per day (Kaiser Foundation Study), children are overloaded with mental stimulus; but do not have an outlet for their pent-up energy. The computer, video game, and TV are overpoweringly addictive. The media draws the child deeper and deeper into virtual reality but without physical stimulus. Is it any wonder they are diagnosed as hyperactive?

In order to cure or cope with hyperactivity doctors have prescribed Ritalin for the children; but now there seems to be a new drug that also works. Doctors are beginning to see the benefits of prescribing a big dose of the great outdoors. Get the child outside to play. Let them run and jump, and swing and slide, and bike and walk, and play. Just get them outside and get them moving.

A few other ideas ...

  • Walk to school. If at all possible leave the vehicle parked.
  • Make sure the schools have a recess period.
  • Plan outside adventures.
  • Some days might require several doses of outdoors.
  • Check out parks and community centers for local programs.
  • Change the family lifestyle.
  • Turn off the TV for all. TV is not a babysitter for any age.
  • A WII (video console) is only exercise for those who do not exercise.
  • The medicine (get outdoors) cures more than just hyperactivity.
  • Maybe the doctor will write you a prescription too.

Happy dose of outdoor trails.


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