Magazine article Work & Family Life

Take a Daily Dose of Outdoor Activity

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Take a Daily Dose of Outdoor Activity

Article excerpt

There's a simple remedy to the "nature-deficit disorder" so many Americans are suffering. We just need to spend more time moving around in the green spaces around us - most of which are free to use and enjoy.

A consortium of physicians, health insurers, naturalists and government agencies have recently joined forces across the country to encourage people of all ages to engage in health-enhancing activity in parks and other natural environments. Their aim is not just to counter sedentary lifestyles but to reacquaint us with the parks, rivers, forests, lakes and beaches that provide us with opportunities to stay active and heathy.

"It's a lot cheaper to go outside and move than it is to build gyms and a lot of hospitals," says Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician in San Francisco. She and other like-minded doctors have begun writing specific "prescriptions" for outdoor activity. Many of them also provide their patients with maps, guidelines and programs of activity based on their physical abilities.

These are helpful because so many people are unfamiliar with the outdoors, says Dr. Miller. "They're scared to walk through a park, and they don't know what to do when they get there. …

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