The Great Outdoors

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The Great Outdoors

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A light breeze hit my face as I felt the warmth of the sun emanate across my face. I felt relaxed and at peace, forgetting about the anxieties that a typical school day brings. I have always been an ardent supporter of increased outside activity, especially for students, as it takes away the monotonous feeling of classroom learning.

Kids are not going outside enough anymore, with one of the main causes being the invention of gaming systems such as Xbox One and Playstation 4. Obesity levels across the board are rising to highs we have never experienced before. Throughout my parents’ childhood, kids only knew about going outdoors because they did not have cell phones and new TV programs every hour of the day to watch.

Unlike most kids from Gen Z, I would have loved to be a child in the 70s and 80s, when everyone would come home from school and head straight outside to the neighborhood game of basketball or wiffle ball. I often bike through many local neighborhoods, and rarely witness these outdoor interactions between school aged children.

While walking through the silent Eastern halls, I glance into the classrooms filled with full faces and sleepy eyes. Some are looking towards the front of the room, while others are staring down into their iPads or ‘black mirrors’, as Mr. Bowne refers to them.

We students are slouched in chairs (with the exception of gym) for the nearly seven hour school day. For those who don’t play after school sports and aren’t so called “try-hards” in gym class, chances are that those individuals are getting very little physical activity each school day. Even in the elective-based classes, such as woodworking, I watch as students stand still while they sand a beige piece of wood.

Studies have shown that increased activity outdoors has led to better grades and longer attention spans for students of all ages. Our homo-sapien ancestors had to constantly move around in order to survive.

With all of the advancements we have made in society since ancient civilization, why can’t we advance both our physical and emotional health by simply breaking a sweat for a half hour each day?