BNTV Brock News
Mallorytown – Colin Harris wants to take your kids away from their video games and get them reconnected with the great outdoors. The 36-year-old Haliburton native is so serious about the obesity epidemic among today’s youth, he is running across Canada to raise awareness about the need for kids to get outside and get active.
Harris has launched the run as part of his Take Me Outside campaign. He began his adventure in St. John’s, Newfoundland in January and plans to celebrate its conclusion on Vancouver Island in September.
During his run, the outdoor educator is stopping to talk with students at schools across Canada about the need to incorporate physical activity into their lives.“The one goal is to get students outside, active and reconnected with the outdoors,” said Harris, who visited with students Tuesday, May 10 at Front of Yonge Elementary School. “Studies show that over the last couple of years students are spending an increasing amount of time inside leading a sedentary lifestyle. This leads to obesity, rising rates of diabetes and generally poor health.”
Harris hopes to turn that around by modelling a physically active lifestyle and getting kids to share stories about what they are doing to get active. He in turn shares these stories on his Take Me Outside blog.
The outdoor educator discussed some shocking statistics with students during a presentation in the school gym. Studies show that today’s youth spend an incredible six hours a day in front of a video screen or television set. This is a dramatic change from their parents who – before the age of the Internet – spent hours each day enjoying outdoor play.
As children’s access to outdoor play time decreases, studies suggest their quality of life decreases mentally, physically and spiritually.
And today’s adults aren’t doing much better, he said. Statistics suggest that adults spend only 7 per cent of their lives enjoying the outdoors.
“We really need to find some balance in our lives,” Harris stressed.
He encouraged students to think what they could do to become more active in their lives. They suggested bike rides, playing on a play structure, golfing, and football.
Studies show that increased outdoor time can be directly connected to improved physical fitness, higher academic achievement, increased attention spans, and increased engagement at school, home and in the community.
Following the presentation, students at Front of Yonge said they will try to become more active.
“I found it interesting that adults spend 93 per cent of their lives indoors,” said Dawson Smith, 13. “I thought it would have been a lot lower. I think next time I’m bored I’ll pass on the Xbox and go outside.”
The talk was sponsored by the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.
Original article pulled from the BNTV Brock News