Friday, October 15, 2010

Playgrounds and Better Health

Playgrounds and Better Health
There is not much doubt that recent generations seem to be in worse physical shape than their parents. Research points us toward an understanding that physical activity is good for our children. First Lady Michelle Obama has made fitness and childhood obesity a topic for our society to address with her Let's Move campaign.
 In a recent article in Playground News by Elisabeth Best, titled Public Schools: An Untapped Recreational Resource,  we learn "Exercise can reduce gall stones and protect the hypothalamus, in addition to providing the more obvious benefits of improved cardiovascular health and an endorphin-elevated mood." Endorphins are produced in the pituitary gland during physical activity or exercise and are responsible in helping us to feel good and have a feeling of well-being. Unless we subject our children to acupuncture, a weight room, or a running track, there aren't a lot of other ways that are this easy to encourage this NATURAL, biochemical production and such good results. A visit to the playground with your children may even result in improvements to adult health!  Don't mention to the children that they are going out for exercise, perhaps don't tell the children that running, jumping, playing and having fun are good for them. Let them have simple and pure fun.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May 2010 that approximately one in five homes have a park, fitness or recreation center within a half-mile (Associated Press). The CDC issues concerns that one reason US children are overweight is that few have a nearby place to play and exercise. You will find the playground referenced as a one of the sources of children's health. Keep in mind the actual name of this government entity, the focus is on control and prevention! Of course, there is more to it, but it will be hard to argue that play is a valuable and life changing experience. As parents and adults, some of our best childhood memories are obtained from the playground. The playground experience is not only physical, but an emotional, social and cognitive experience. Voice of Play, an Outreach of the International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association explains that "Free play encourages children to develop skills that build self-confidence and self-esteem, such as risk-taking, conflict resolution and imaginative dramatic play."
PLAY isn't a new fad or concept . Albert Einstein told us "Play is the highest form of research." Publius Ovidius Naso Ovid, Roman Poet 43 BC- 18 AD  wrote “In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.”  American writer Eric Hoffer wrote,  “It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.”
Don't make play, recess and fun a historical note to teach our children about. Experience a new level of fitness. Engage in challenging activity for children, young and old. 
Visit us online for more information, at
DunRite Fitness


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