|'Park-Stuttgart' by veri disquo|
My week would be incomplete if I didn't drag Mystery Man to the park. I never grew up as an outdoor person because most of my childhood was spent attending dance classes and being a nerd. I wasn't very athletic either. Surprisingly, I ended up discovering yoga and now I spend more time outdoors. Going to the park with Mystery Man has become my weekly routine. I went to 5 different parks throughout the month of January and to my surprise, every park that I visited was filled with lots of people. I was actually happy to see so many citizens opting for parks as a destination to spend a quality weekend. Babies in strollers, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults and elderlies moving around the park with friends and family, exercising, chatting away and having a good time. As I was processing my thoughts, it occurred to me that most people ignore the existence of parks in our community. Not everyone, but majority. Some of the reasons I remember people mentioning to me was feeling too tired to travel all the way to the park and worse, wanting to relax at home. Honestly, I don't see how watching television for 4 to 6 hours non-stop is considered relaxing. It seems to me as though, people think spending an hour or so walking around people and trees is harmful to mankind. One of the many things humans conditioned themselves to believe. Purely absurd.
I am not going to blabber on the physical and mental health benefits of walking. Walking is obviously good for you whether it's in a park or at a mall. I want to focus on the idea of the park itself. This is my take on 'WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO THE PARK'.
1. To Spend "ME" Time.Getting out of the house and getting some fresh air works wonders for yourself. Escape the hustle-and-bustle of daily life and naturally elevate your mood by taking a slow walk in the park. A park can the best place for you to go to relax if you're overwhelmed with work or life. You're free from meetings, chores, commitments and a to-do list. Simply allow your mind to wander in silence and the only person you have to listen to is yourself. Think of it like a walking meditation or a mind massage to re-frame your mind and organize your thoughts. You will be more creative with a clearer mind and you will do better at work and home.
2. To be ONE with Nature.Keep your cellphones, laptops and any electronic gadgets away to look at flowers and trees. You get a chance to be surrounded by greenery and get to see animals like squirrels, birds,ducks and fishes. I actually saw a monitor lizard at the park once. Creepy and exciting at the same time. Guaranteed you will enjoy mother nature. Sometimes it's good to look at real birds compared to Flappy Bird. Your mind and body will be thankful.
3. For the sake of your kids.The park is the perfect place for children because they can run, play and shout for joy with friends and family. The wide and open atmosphere allows them to feel free to express themselves. Trust me, keeping your kids at home all day is like caging wild animals. They tend to mess up the home like a claustrophobic. So, release them into a park which will keep them distracted with activities and you get to save up the energy of cleaning up the mess. Want to hear a good news, after all the running and jumping, your kids will go to bed earlier than usual. You will appreciate the quiet time with your hubby on a weekend.
4. ZERO stress.It's true, there is no stress when you're at the park. You are only surrounded by relaxed people who are smiling and taking time to live. Most people come to park for only two reasons; fitness activity or recreation purpose. Their goal is to get a good workout, spend quality time with whoever they are with, escape daily routine and ultimately, to enjoy a good time. When you are surrounded by happy people with positive thoughts, it will impossible for you to feel stressed or anxious.
5. Have a 'COUPLE TALK'This is what I usually do with Mystery Man during our park walks. We use the opportunity to fill up each other on what has been happening throughout the week as we burn a few calories, instead of lazing around the couch. Parks are pretty romantic and the atmosphere is just nice to have a calm and fulfilling conversation. Allow your kids to wander about (not out of sight, of course) and take this time to have a pleasant conversation with your other half. Honestly, whenever I am with Mystery Man in the park, it does bring us back to the earlier days of our courtship.
6. Set a good example.Your kids grow up watching everything you say and do. You are the biggest role model they can look up to. Inspire them to have a more active lifestyle and to be more connected to the nature and outdoors. Keeping your kids active will result in their health, interaction and overall personality. As simple as a visit to the park will improve your communication and understanding with them in the long run. I'm sure you don't want to be the reason to raise lazy and unhappy children.
7. Meet more PEOPLE.If you choose to go to a park around your neighborhood, there's a high probability that you will bump into a friend or an acquaintance. Even if you don't bump into anyone you know, you can always pass a smile or start a conversations with people around. Who knows, you will probably make new friends. The same goes to your kids.
8. Be a good citizen.
I don't know if you realize, but there is a management and a whole lot of workers who put their blood and sweat into taking care of ours parks. No matter how much leaves they have to sweep and how much people litter around the park, they still work hard to keep our parks clean. Appreciating and supporting their hard work is just good citizenship. When we bring our families to the park, their families gets to survive longer.
9. Keeps you healthy.
I did not want to mention the obvious but I just couldn't resist. Walking, running, jumping and climbing will not just make you healthy but your kids as well. It's a perfect way to incorporate a workout for parents who can't get time to exercise. A person who walks for 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. Start walking to create a healthier you.
10. It's FREE.
I hope I have inspired you to take a visit to your nearby park this week. No membership fees, no scheduling with your personal trainer and no time limit for staying. You just have to bring yourself to the park and have a jolly good time. If you're a regular park visitor, tell me what's your favorite activity and if you're planning to go this weekend, give me a 'high 5'.