Sunday, June 21, is the the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Around here we hope it means we finally have some river-worthy sunshine and temps, with a chance to catch up on mowing without mud.
Ages ago, on this day when the sun seemed to stop, bonfires would pop up and dancing would begin. What a fitting way to celebrate the outdoors! Add to it a cookout and a tent and the summer celebration is official. Memories in the making in the magnificent amphitheater called Earth.
Does make one wonder why, when driving through town, any town, on a super day, that so few can be seen sitting on a porch, swinging on play set, riding a bike, taking a walk, playing with the hose. The lack of faces outside is so much the norm that on a recent drive, when moving bodies were spotted, a count began!
What activity occupies the average American child for about 8 hours a week? That was a radio quiz question. Any of the guesses that dealt with technology, or television, or other indoor activities missed the mark. The answer – playing outside.
How times have changed! Recall your childhood. Sometimes we spent 8 hours outside all on a single Saturday. What would the average number of hours have been in the 50’s and 60’s, or the 80’s and 90’s? I would guess it would be way higher than 8.
June 21 is also the Longest Day in the Alzheimer’s Association June campaign to heighten awareness about this devastating disease and ways to combat cognitive decline. Last week I shared 3 steps – (1) break a sweat (exercise), (2) butt out (stop smoking), (3) heads up (wear helmets). Here are 4 more offered by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Hit the Books – It’s never too late to learn something new. Great for the brain, whether it be in a classroom setting or on-line, or at the kitchen table. Learning is brain exercise.
Follow your Heart – Anything good for heart health is also great for brain health. Steps taken to combat obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes benefit both.
Fuel Up – Eat more veggies, less bad fat and sugar.
Get More ZZZ’s – A good night’s sleep is great for thinking and the memory.
Celebrate the start of summer, and celebrate brain health. Those affected by Alzheimer’s can’t do either one.
This first appeared in the June 17th issue of my hometown paper, the Prospect-News, in Doniphan, Missouri. The first in the series of three titled “40’s Freedom Flight” appeared in the June 10th issue. The final in the series – “Change” – was included in the June 24th issue.