Friday, September 14th, 2012
When I moved from rural Ohio to New York City, I bid a teary goodbye to my daily dose of shady trees, green lawns, and deer frolicking outside my dorm window (I’m speaking literally here. The deer were out there daily). That environment just begged to be enjoyed, and I took full advantage, running and biking almost daily on a nearby bike path. Now that I spend the majority of my time in an office building, I appreciate more than ever the importance of breaking away from my desk for some fresh air and vitamin D. Though I’ve traded in trees for skyscrapers, grass for concrete, and…I’m not going to go into what critters I’ve traded deer in for…any amount of sunshine does wonders for my mood and productivity, and even a 10-minute trip to Central Park is enough to put a spring in my step and a smile on my face. This isn’t just me lamenting the loss of a natural playground just outside my door. Science backs me up: Studies have found that a mere five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem and mood, and children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. Heck, one study even found that spinal surgery patients felt less pain and stress, and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light.
That’s why I plan to take part in KEEN’s Worldwide Recess Day today. Just take a minimum of 10 minutes out of your day to go for a walk or play tag with your kids. If you live near a KEEN store, a company that “designs footwear, bags, and socks that enable you to play anyplace without a ceiling,” they’re hosting games of four-square, hop scotch, and tetherball around the country and around the world. To further encourage the 10-minute breather, they’re asking their fans to post images of their recess-capades with the tag #take10 on Instagram or Twitter, and offering a pair of KEEN shoes to one photo-poster every hour.
Leave a note in the comments letting us know what you did for your recess! I’m planning to take a walk in my neighborhood after dinner.