Kids—and Adults—Need to Get Outside

Several years ago, a friend and I were driving through a neighborhood on a beautiful summer day and he said, “We haven’t seen a single kid outdoors. They’re all inside, watching movies, playing video games and looking at computer screens.”

Nanci and I have talked about how when we were growing up, free time when it was daylight meant being outside, and free time at night meant reading a book. I have great memories of playing army in the wheat fields around our house, and playing football and basketball at the local grade school, then getting in bed early and reading sometimes for hours before turning out the light.

Our daughters, Karina and Angela, are both raising boys. Nanci and I are proud of them and their husbands, and the way they are carefully training their sons. Part of that is limiting the amount of screen time they get each day, and encouraging them to go outside and enjoy God’s creation, and read books as well!

As an adult, I still love to be outside. I especially love going out on my favorite bike trail, the Springwater Corridor, and breathing the fresh Oregon air, watching for rabbits and other wildlife and thoroughly enjoying the Creator's art work. 

Studies show there is a high correlation between indoor living and depression. As a counselor years ago, I noticed that the time of year when people suffer most from depression (and just about every other emotional disorder) is in the months of November through February. In fall and spring the requests for counseling were half of what they were in winter, and in the summer they were even fewer. (Certainly there are other factors that contribute to this, but lack of regular exposure to sunlight and fresh air in the winter months is a major one.)

One of my favorite things in the world is going on bike rides and throwing a football with my grandsons. Make time outdoors part of your daily plan for both yourself and your family. Whether it’s working in the garden, an outdoor quiet time, or a daily walk or run or bike ride, get out and do something—for God’s glory and for the good of your children and grandchildren!

Photo credit: Miles Tan via Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries