The Outdoors: Family Health & Fitness

June 6, 2019, Shirley Blake

In Mid-May, I was able to attend the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Summit in Bend. The invitation came through a colleague from the Benton County Health Department. It was a great experience and I especially enjoyed the outdoor theme. The reason I was in attendance was to learn and bring back information to serve the community by sharing input as committees work on updating and developing local parks.

There were many wonderful speakers like Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, Outdoor Afro’s CEO, Rue Mapp and the first person to cross the landmass of Antarctica solo, endurance athlete, Colin O’Brady! I left feeling very inspired, energized and with a deep sense of gratitude to call Oregon home.

The drive home is about three hours and it was three hours full of thoughts about the conference. Some of my thoughts were about the stories people shared. Stories of how the outdoors changed their life, gave them joy and peace from outdoor experiences. I completely agree. I enjoy the outdoors and so does my husband. He is an avid outdoorsman, which means all of our family benefits from fishing, hiking, and camping. At the summit, I was able to recognize that this is not true for everyone. Some people do not actively engage in outdoor activities. Both my husband and I grew up accessing the outdoors. For some people that is not true. I understand if outdoor recreation is something new it may be harder to get started.

As Oregonians, the outdoors is a big asset we have. I could not imagine my life without outdoor
recreation so here are some things to help create an outdoor mindset to get you outdoors:

– Have a growth mindset
– Be mindful of your thoughts &  perceptions
– Think about the positive benefits of the outdoors
– Be inclusive of how everyone in your family can participate
– Be safe and plan ahead
– Be respectful, of shared spaces

In honor of Family Health & Fitness Day USA on June 8th I hope you and your family can get outdoors! Being outdoors aides in being physically active but it also is good for your
mental health! I want to share some of my family’s go to outdoor activities that are easy do:

 

– Going on a walk
– Planning a hike
– Riding bikes and scooters
– Visiting a local park
– Going to the pool
– Taking a soccer/basketball to play outside/park
– Packing a picnic to take to a park

Remember to get outdoors on June 8th Family Health & Fitness Day to kick-start a summer of safe and fun outdoor recreation! Be sure to check the links below for more information and resources out Oregon’s Outdoors!

  • Oregon State Parks– Oregon state parks are individual places where people play, picnic, camp, rest, hike, renew, and everything in between.  They are an everyday reminder of the things that make Oregon great, and their very existence is a testament to what we collectively value.
  • Travel Oregon- Made up of seven diverse regions, Oregon has the ocean, mountains, valleys, high desert, cities, small towns, and almost everything in between.
  • Oregon Fish & Wildlife- Protecting and enhancing Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.