Get the ‘indoor generation’ out into the garden

By Lynette L. Walther | Mar 08, 2019
Photo by: Lynette L. Walther Introduce the young -- or old -- to gardening, and they’ll have an activity to enjoy and benefit from for the rest of their lives.

An alarming recent report describes people today as part of an “indoor generation” that stays indoors all day — either at work or at home. The report says that 90 percent of people across the globe spend some 22 hours a day inside, and many aren’t getting any daylight or fresh air. Even more alarming is that Americans spend 93 percent of their time indoors or in vehicles. Many people today even get their exercise indoors at gyms or on home exercise equipment.

Worse yet, children spend an average of less than an hour of their day outside. That’s half what their parents did when they were children. The report further notes that over the past two centuries humans have migrated from farms to factories and offices. In other words, “Instead of basking in nature, people today are basking in the glow of a screen, which puts us out of sync with natural rhythms.” All of this considered, it is little wonder that a third of Americans are either overweight or obese, our children are, too, and many of us have trouble sleeping at night. This trend is also fueling higher rates of mental and physical health problems.

What this boils down to is that daylight and fresh air aren’t just “nice to have,” but are essential to our health and well-being. In other words: It is a scientific fact that the human body needs fresh air and sunshine.

But it is estimated that adults spend up to 11 hours a day looking at an assortment of screens, from laptops to cellphones to televisions. As for youngsters, it is estimated that mobile phone times for children up to 8 years have tripled in the past five years and teens average about seven hours a day. Consider this as well: “Each day 2- to 17-year-olds are exposed to about 15 unhealthy food commercials,” according to the survey. And we wonder why a third of them are overweight!

And what has this got to do with gardening? Why, everything! It is one activity that humans of all ages can engage in to get that sunshine, fresh air and exercise, and benefit from with healthy, fresh food.

Not only that, but when young people become involved, gardening introduces them to a plethora of healthy choices and responsibilities. It teaches nurturing, patience and delayed gratification, as well as good stewardship and how to care for our earth. Gardening involves healthy exercise and, of course, includes plenty of sunshine.

If you have young children or grandchildren, can involve neighborhood children, or work with a local school or organization on a community garden, you can help make a positive change in their lives. You don’t have to wait for summer to begin.

Well, yeah, the ground is frozen solid now, but that won’t stop anyone from planning. Try selecting seeds together for colorful fruits and vegetables. Seed catalogs are arriving in our mailboxes and are a great place to start, or peruse the selections at your local garden center. Help them select the elements to start a container garden — container, potting soil, seeds and gardening implements. Or consider compact berry bushes or dwarf fruit trees.

By involving young people, or anyone of any age, for that matter, you are helping to encourage more people to work toward creating a healthy future for themselves and others. As a gardener, you have a wealth of experience to share, and you can help bring the outdoors closer to home for many with a ticket to a healthy new lifestyle. So buck the trend and take it outdoors.

Go on a seed safari. Take a trip to the garden center now, and pick out your “tickets” to gardening adventures and time spent outdoors. (Photo by: Lynette L. Walther)
It can be as simple as planting a few sunflowers to introduce anyone of any age to the joys of being outdoors and gardening — an activity that gets us outdoors and moving. Start seeds indoors soon for summer blooms (Photo by: Lynette L. Walther)
Comments (3)
Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Mar 13, 2019 21:15

Great piece Lynette!!!  I hope it inspires more to get out and enjoy the great State we live in!


I remember bringing my kids to pick 50qts strawberries at Ravens in Freedom everyday and selling them on a street side card table. They borrowed $50 to pay for the berries and sold them for $2qt.  Paid me back the $50 the first day and then had $50 of their own money to buy the next days 50qts.   Taught them how to interact with customers.  How to handle money and making change.  Got up each morning at 5am and they stayed with them until they were all sold.  Some days it was two hours and one day it took them 14 hours.  The look on my face when they would ask the customers to taste one, which got them to buy more, was almost as good as the expression on their face the day they bought their own bike with their own money.

Posted by: Lynette Walther | Mar 09, 2019 07:42

"Mickey," You are indeed living proof of the health rewards of gardening! Thanks for your comment. Lynette

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 08, 2019 14:40

And to think, my generation planted, picked and canned or froze out winter food. Yes you do get all the fresh air and exercise you need and the work is fulfilling. Culminating in a winter supply of food. No need to rush to grocery stores, just open the freezer or go down to the cellar for the canned food. Yes I am of the old generation, but still healthy at 83 yrs. young!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +)

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