Click here for more recent tips.

10/31/13: Using your break to run errands or perform other chores will not give you the restorative break you need to return to work refreshed. Give yourself a midday boost with a short walk with your coworkers. Head to a nearby park, if possible. Spending 20 minutes in nature improves moods and energy levels.1

10/30/13: Make use of your jack-o-lanterns after Halloween by playing Capture the Pumpkin, which works just like Capture the Flag. Exercise in outdoor natural environments provides all-around health benefits, including stress reduction and improvement in mood and self-esteem.2

10/29/13: A sound garden is a way to expose children (or adults) to musical instruments while enjoying the outdoors in a playground setting. Check out this video to learn more.3

10/24/13: Obesity rates in 2- to 5-year-old children have increased dramatically since the 1970s, and currently, 26.7 percent of U.S. children of these ages are obese or overweight. Kids under age 6 should aim to get three hours of physical activity daily.4

10/23/13: Parents can play a particularly important role in helping their children to have more productive school time by allocating home time for outdoor activities in natural settings and by being strong advocates for schools to offer more safe outdoor time and experiences for their children, including recess time.5

10/22/13: Just because frost is around the corner doesn’t mean you should give up on your garden. In most parts of the country, a brief cold snap is followed by beautiful weather. Protect your plants through a night or two of chilly temperatures by employing a few clever techniques in order to enjoy the harvest well into the season.6

10/17/13: Think about organizing a Come Alive Outside Event for your community. Bahler Brothers held one you can read about here, and here is a Book of Games you can use to get children involved in outside play.

10/16/13: Use leaves to cover bare soil in your vegetable garden during the winter and to protect cold-hardy vegetables like carrots, kale, leeks and beets for extended winter harvest. In the spring, you can turn the leaves into the soil.7

10/15/13: Give your yard a little spunk by adding weather-resistant artwork. Choose pieces that complement your home’s natural palette and exterior elements. Birdbaths, metal cutouts, sculptures, and wind chimes are good choices for outdoor art.8

10/11/13: Experiencing something new is a great way to make memories. The next time you’re facing a boring afternoon, learn a new skill outdoors and start bonding with your family and friends.9

10/10/13: The next time you need to run an errand that’s less than a mile from your house, try leaving the car at home and heading out on foot. A nice walk gives you a boost of energy and makes you feel at one with nature (even if you’re only headed to the post office).10

10/9/13: Children who have the opportunity to spend time learning in natural environments perform better in reading, mathematics, science and social studies. Exploring the natural world helps students get excited about learning.11

10/8/13: Do you ever wonder why leaves change color? As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter. This is how the trees know to begin getting ready for winter. During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis, so the trees will rest and live off the food they stored during the summer. Enjoy the changing colors by spending time outside!12

10/5/13: Scientific studies show that constant, consistent physical movement throughout our daily lives is the single most important thing to do to be physically healthier and smarter, regardless of age.13

10/4/13: Part of the enjoyment of feeding birds is matching wits with squirrels, but don’t put grease or petroleum jelly on the feeder pole. It can coat the fur of a squirrel or get in the feathers of a bird. Click here for tips on outwitting squirrels.14

10/3/13: Part of the enjoyment of feeding birds is matching wits with squirrels, but don’t put grease or petroleum jelly on the feeder pole. It can coat the fur of a squirrel or get in the feathers of a bird. Click here for tips on outwitting squirrels.14

10/2/13: There is a movement to get nursing homes to put elderly residents in touch with nature. Humans need to be needed, and meeting that need for the old and infirm is a challenge, but one way to do it is gardening and taking care of plants.16

9/27/13: Use fall activities to get a workout. Take the chance to enjoy the colors of fall. Go on a walk, run, bike ride, or kayak trip and take in the colors of fall. Working out in a beautiful setting makes it a lot easier to enjoy your workout.17

9/26/13: Use fall activities to get a workout. Corn mazes are a popular fall family activity. Walking through a maze of corn stalks can get your adrenaline and competitiveness going. Walking is a great workout; if you want to up the workout a little more, go through the maze multiple times or make it a race.18

9/25/13: Use fall activities to get a workout. Walk around the apple orchard and find the perfect apples to take home. Just like the pumpkin patch, carrying around a bushel of apples can be quite the workout!19

9/24/13: Use fall activities to get a workout. When visiting a pumpkin patch, pick up a pumpkin right away as you look for the perfect one. Do some reps lifting the pumpkin. Use your leg muscles when setting it down and picking up another one.20

9/20/13: Animal tracking is more than just reading and following tracks; you also need to read and
understand the signs left behind by animals. Signs can be; trails, beds, hair, fur, scat (animal droppings) or a broken twig. Click here for some games to build your tracking skills.21

9/18/13: Exercise can improve your mood. The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym, but exercise includes a wide range of activities that may help you feel better. Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can gardening, washing your car, or strolling around the block and other less intense activities. Anything that gets you off the couch and moving is exercise that can help improve your mood.22

9/17/13: Young people love Come Alive Outside and sharing the message with others. Take a look at these video documentaries created by high school students and 4-H and FFA members showing how they took Come Alive Outside to their communities.23

9/13/13: Commit to the outdoors, rain or shine. When you’re layered properly, you can enjoy the outdoors in any season, cold, wet or hot. Don’t forget about the fun and healthy outdoor activities available during the rainy or cold months-these are the times that we have even less outdoor interaction, but may be when we need it the most!24

9/12/13: Sit outside. We’re always so on-the-go. The next time you need a break, try sitting outside quietly and just appreciate the natural beauty around you! Notice the scents, sights and sounds as you sit quietly and focus on the moment.25

9/11/13: According to a 2009 study, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you’re likely to be. People who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.26

9/6/13: “If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” – David Sobel

9/5/13: Put children on a football field, and they will probably wait to play until someone explains the rules, or at least gives them a ball. But put the same children in a meadow, on a rocky shore or in a wood and they will very soon be inventing games for themselves.27

9/4/13: In a recent study, children told researchers that their happiness is dependent on having time with a stable family and plenty of things to do, especially outdoors, rather than on owning technology or branded clothes.28

9/3/13: You can identify most trees by studying their leaves, seeds, and fruit. This animation will help you learn to identify these characteristics and take a “step-by-step” approach to arrive at the name of your tree.29

8/30/13: Researchers exploring the relations between outdoor recreation participation and wellness have found beneficial effects on two problems in particular, stress and obesity.30

8/29/13: When indoors at home, people are more likely to snack. Watching TV is associated with snacking more frequently. Thus, one benefit of outdoor recreation is a decreased likelihood of overeating. And while outdoors, people are less likely to be sedentary.31

8/28/13: One health advantage of being outdoors today is that being indoors may pose greater dangers, since pollution exposure in homes and offices is often greater than outdoors. The California Air Resources Board estimates that indoor air pollutant levels are 25 to 62 percent greater than outside levels and can pose serious health problems.32

8/27/13: Many city dwellers have a deep-rooted need to reconnect to nature. Camping in cities, whether on a rooftop or in a front yard, is a catching on. Campsites don’t always have to be in the woods.33

8/22/13: Using plants native to your area, and ones that bloom from early spring to late fall, is the best way to ensure the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds feel at home and continue working on what they do best–helping plant reproduction by the transfer of pollen among flowers.34

8/21/13: As the summer months wind down and cooler weather sets in, be sure to keep plenty of fresh water available for the birds.35

8/20/13: Trees remove air pollutants by collecting them on their leaves and branches; in fact, just one tree can remove 300 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.36

8/15/13: Here’s a tip to remember if ever in an outdoor survival situation: Rule of 3s – In any extreme situation you cannot survive for more than: 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter when cold, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.37

8/14/13: Sit quietly outside for 5-15 minutes. Soon you’ll realize that you’re surrounded by other beings. In nature, it’s almost magical the way this happens. Their motion reveals them: A walking stick takes a few steps, compromising its camouflage. A black-throated blue warbler comes right up to you to investigate. The longer you stay still, the better.38

8/13/13: The Ultimate Workout – Grab some friends (or your dog) and head to the park to throw around a frisbee. This is not only fun to play, but also a great way to build muscle and endurance.39

8/9/13: Celebrating Wins: A recent report showed that obesity rates for low-income preschoolers in 18 states have fallen. While the report didn’t address the reasons why, we know thousands of preschools and day care centers across the country have pledged to increase physical playtime and serve healthier foods. It appears to be working!40

8/8/13: When adjacent to residential areas, green spaces have been shown to create neighborhoods with fewer violent and property crimes and where neighbors tend to support and protect one another.41

8/6/13: Watch this video of Frank Mariani from Mariani Landscape for some great ideas on how you can help clients create outdoor living spaces.

8/2/13: Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it … Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.42

8/1/13: Teachers say daily time outside is changing the way young students–including those with special needs–learn and behave. Indoors, where the children build on what they observe and learn outside, teachers notice literacy and attention improve steadily.43

7/31/13: Look at natural air conditioning possibilities in the yard. Searing summer sun builds up heat in unshaded areas and puts a strain on electric air conditioners and swamp coolers. Add green plants, and you increase the comfort level and provide shade and evaporative cooling.44

7/30/13: Don’t we have a responsibility to do more than listen to our clients? Don’t we have a responsibility to challenge them to think about something they’ve never thought about? Most landscape architects are not talking about interior decorating for outdoor spaces.45

7/26/13: There is a wide variety of outdoor activities that can be adapted for and enjoyed by individuals of all levels of physical ability. Fun, childhood games are a great way to add light exercise and physical activity to a routine. Some favorites include horseshoes, croquet, lawn bowling and bean-bag toss.46

7/25/13: Outdoor social activities can help seniors combat symptoms of depression, a condition that nearly 7 million people over the age of 65 suffer. Outdoor activities not only get the body moving but can also improve emotional and mental health. Spending time with nature has the potential to battle loneliness and foster a happier state of mind.47

7/24/13: Enjoy this great video created by Sarah Walker of The Scott Wentworth Landscape Group describing why Come Alive Outside is important.

7/23/13: Need a reason for playing outside with a child besides “it’s just plain fun”? Participation with children in play provides adults with unique insights and understanding of children’s perspectives. It builds respect between generations, contributes to effective understanding and communication between children and adults and affords opportunities to provide guidance and stimulus.48

7/19/13: Trees grow up from the top. A mark at 5 feet would stay at 5 feet as long as the tree lives. That’s why you can hang a birdfeeder from a tree and not worry that it will grow too tall for you to reach and fill it.49

7/18/13: Children learn many of their values and ideas from their parents. Be aware of your own media habits and change them if necessary. How can you be an example today of choosing to be outside instead of sitting in front of a screen?50

7/17/13: Time in nature can increase cognitive skills and enhance creativity. Scientists point to at least 10 (not 5) and as many as 30 human senses. But, parked at computers, kids and adults spend enormous energy blocking out many of those seemingly intrusive senses.51

7/16/13: Working non-stop can cause your brain to become exhausted, but walking outdoors, even for a brief amount of time, can help your brain recover. Research also shows that being in a natural environment causes a shift in hormone levels that in turn reduce physical signs of stress.52

7/12/13: Certain plant combinations help each other grow. For example, the bugs that like marigolds are the same bugs that love to eat the bugs that love to eat tomatoes.53

7/11/13: Research shows that the more time you spend commuting, the less likely you are to exercise. If you’re going to be caught in gridlock, why not drive in before the rush and then take a walk near your office? Or consider doing the same after work while you wait for traffic to subside.54

7/10/13: American homeowners increasingly are drawn to adding outdoor rooms for entertaining and recreation on their properties. Survey results also show demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design.55

7/9/13: A water feature in your yard can help you relax because flowing water emits negative ions, which play an important role in reducing stress. The sound of flowing water has a calming effect on our minds, and that brings about overall improvement in our health.56

7/5/13: To get fast results, take your workout outside. A study from California Pacific Orthopedic and Sports Medicine found that outdoor exercisers lost an average of 7.43 pounds and 6.17 percent of body fat in eight weeks. That’s because outdoors, your body is constantly challenged by inclines, declines, and obstacles.57

7/4/13: Happy 4th of July! Celebrate today by doing something fun outside with family and friends.

7/3/13: There are non-monetary gains a quality landscape investment provide. Some of those benefits include:

  • Lower noise levels
  • Blocks unpleasant views
  • Reduces crime
  • Lowers heating and cooling
  • Improves home appearance
  • Optimizes the use of land and outdoor space
  • Reduces usage chemicals on the property
  • Allows for the imaginative use of styles, features, plants and ornaments

58

7/2/13: Landscaping can result in more than a 100% return on investment. The 3 main ways landscaping and gardening affect the sale price of a house are the quality of landscaping (1) in the neighborhood, (2) on lots adjacent to the house in question, and (3) on the lot itself.59

6/28/13: By the end of this decade, most Americans will exert only slightly more energy per week than if they slept 24 hours a day.60

6/26/13: Looking for something fun to do outside? How about taking a bug hike? Put together a bug hunting bag with a magnifying glass, some jars and maybe a sketchbook to draw what you see.61

6/25/13: Nature, like the rest of society, is becoming more accessible to people with disabilities of all ages. Due to the efforts of people with disabilities, national, state and local parks are providing accessible trails and features that make it possible to get closer to flowers, trees and even animals – without paving paradise. And people with disabilities are more active than ever in outdoor sports, recreation and games. Or just hanging out in neighborhood yards and little parks. How can you help someone with a disability experience nature?62

6/21/13: Every season brings new night sounds–owls in the winter, frogs in the spring, tree crickets in the summer and grasshoppers in the fall. Find a quiet outdoor space and visit it at nightfall. Sit on a blanket and listen for a few minutes. How many different sounds did you hear? Compare the sounds with what you hear during the day or during your last visit. Record the sounds. 63

6/20/13: To help bees and other pollinator insects–like butterflies–you should provide a range of plants that will offer a succession of flowers, and thus pollen and nectar, through the whole growing season. Click here for plant lists in your area.64

6/19/13: The espalier (pronounced es-PAL-yay) is a centuries-old tree-growing technique that calls on a gardener’s patience and loving care to create a strikingly beautiful – and space-saving – effect for a garden or patio space.65

6/18/13: Using edibles in landscape design can enhance a garden by providing a unique ornamental component with additional health, aesthetic, and economic benefits. Edible landscaping is a mixture of beauty and utility.66

6/11/13: Hiking is a great way to get some exercise while having fun. If you hike with your kids, you’ll be instilling a lifelong love of the outdoors. Go to the library beforehand and pick up some field guides so you can identify various birds, trees, flowers, and other plants. Make a game of it; see who can spot and name the most species over the course of a trip.67

6/7/13: Community gardens can add to the fabric of a neighborhood. Research shows they can also benefit the health – especially the weight – of those who do the gardening.68

6/6/13: Did you know that the average child spends only 9 minutes outdoors per day?69

6/5/13: Vitamin D3 may be calcium’s best friend. Without it, calcium has a really tough time being absorbed into your bones. Ten minutes in the sun each day can help you have this vitamin that helps slow the progression of arthritis, hypertension, kidney disease, atherosclerosis (a cause of heart disease and stroke), wrinkles, and memory loss.70

5/31/13: Are you getting enough Vitamin N (nature)? Some doctors find the data so compelling that they’re writing “nature prescriptions” to help prevent and treat conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes to depression.71

5/30/13: Landscapers should look at edible landscapes as a way to serve health-conscious, environmentally conscious or community-oriented clients. Foodscaping could also be an option for the client who enjoys nature or who wants a kid-friendly atmosphere. Edible plants foster curiosity in children allowing them to connect with what’s growing and living in their own yard.72

5/29/13: Parks can be very important to arts and cultural programs, because they are the democratic spaces of a city where communities can come together to express their identities. Parks can be a vital place for the cultural expression of a community and a city.73

5/24/13: Time spent outdoors improves children’s immune systems. Healthy children are stronger learners. As children spend more and more time outdoors, their immune systems improve, decreasing time out of school for illness.74

5/23/13: Time spent outdoors increases persistence. Outdoor games often require persistence. Children must try and try again if their experiment fails. If the branch doesn’t reach all the way across the stream or the bark doesn’t cover their fairy house, they must keep trying until they are successful.75

5/22/13: Children in the UK, Sweden and Spain told researchers that their happiness is dependent on having time with a stable family and plenty of things to do, especially outdoors, rather than on owning technology or branded clothes. It isn’t hard to imagine children in all countries feel this way. What can you do to spend some time outside with a child today?76

5/21/13: Shiny screens in every room, increased parental fears of dirt and the unknown and the elimination of free public space are all converging to create a generation that has no connection with nature. Check out Project Wildthing for some ideas to get parents and kids out into the woods.

5/17/13: Not only do street trees foster a community’s sense of place, but well-maintained streetscapes raise opinions about the quality of goods and services offered. In landscaped shopping districts, surveyed consumers were willing to spend 9-12% more than they would spend in an un-landscaped district.77

5/16/13: Vegetated areas in cities provide relief from the “heat island effect” caused by the heat-trapping quality of asphalt, concrete, and building materials. Air under a tree’s canopy can be as much as 5 – 10° F cooler compared to full sun, with the underlying pavement up to 36° F cooler.78

5/15/13: Neighborhoods where vacant lots were converted into small parks and community green spaces are associated with reduced crime when compared to neighborhoods with unimproved vacant lots. 79

5/14/13: Creating a bird-friendly backyard is fairly simple. Provide 4 things: (1) Food – sunflower seeds are great; (2) Water – even a dish can be used; (3) Shelter – trees, bushes or even a brush pile; and (4) Place to nest – birdhouse or nest materials left to find like straw and feathers80

5/10/13: In the days before smog, before electricity and light pollution, before people spent most of their time working and sleeping indoors, people would have had daily opportunities for awe. Getting outside–finding a place to see the stars or gaze down from a hilltop–has become a luxury. Get outside today and see what just might awe you. Or take a child with you and see it through his eyes.81

5/9/13: When you’re relaxing in nature, your adrenal cortex produces less of the hormone cortisol, which activates the body’s stress response. Prolonged periods of stress can also shrink the hippocampus, which is where we form and store memories. By contrast, less stress enhances neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections.82

5/8/13: Build outdoor moments into your schedule. Park the car at the far end of the lot.Take your coffee in the courtyard. Walk the long way around. Have meetings outside. The key is to make green time a part of daily life.83

5/7/13: In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 20% in the U.K. and 32% in the U.S. In China, the drop is 45% in less than one generation. Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost.84

5/3/13: Outdoor exercise is often “green exercise”–the only fuel you burn is calories, and you don’t use up resources to produce equipment.85

5/1/13: With a 78% return on investment, adding a deck to your house, or simply improving, refinishing or expanding your current deck, will increase your home’s value substantially. 86

4/30/13: To ramp up your fitness routine, do it outdoors. Research shows we’re willing to sweat more and for longer when we exercise outside. 87

4/26/13: The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need to achieve natural balance. . . . In relationship with nature, the high-performance human will conserve and create natural habitat — and new economic potential — where we live, learn, work, and play.88

4/24/13: Pre-diabetes is reversible. 2 1/2 hours per week of even leisurely physical activity-like brisk walking-is enough to significantly improve glucose tolerance. This translates into a 30-minute walk five times per week. Exercise works because muscles in action are able to take up glucose from the blood without the help of insulin, so get moving!89

4/23/13: Have you ever asked an elderly person how they spent their time outside when they were young? What work did they do? What games did they play? Did they grow their own garden? Talk to someone close to you and then enter our Conversation Contest here.

4/19/13: Did you know that April is National Kite Month? Why not experience one of the joys of childhood and get outside to fly a kite this month? Or perhaps you could introduce this fun activity to a young person who has never flown a kite before.90

4/18/13: Bicycling is a fun activity that you can do alone, on a date or with the whole family. Although biking can be a little nerve racking if you’re maneuvering through traffic, you can alleviate that tension by using a bike path. All over the country, old railroad tracks have been converted to bike and running trails. These provide a safe place to ride–and you can even ride two abreast to talk while you pedal.91

4/17/13: Green Gym Day this year is on June 9. Start thinking about what you’d like to do outside or check out the Green Gym Day website to look for ideas, and then spread the message!

4/16/13: Outdoor spaces offer opportunities for children to be more creative, inquiring and socially skilled, as they can pursue their own lines of interest and talk together. In classrooms, dominated by specific learning outcomes and teachers talking, it’s very easy for learning to become something which is spoon-fed.92

4/12/13: While time spent in nature is calming, it is never boring because natural environments revitalize the overworked or stressed person by providing what has been called “fascinating stimulus,” that is, stimulus that calls forth involuntary attention. This is an antidote to the exclusive focus we give to the many tasks which demand our concentrated attention at work, at school and at home.93

4/11/13: Open-ended play in places that offer access to woods, gullies and gardens, ditches, boulders, and bike paths enhances curiosity and confidence throughout life.94

4/10/13: A survey of almost 5000 people in 9 countries found that 91% of respondents believe that forests, parks and gardens have a positive effect on our quality of life. Also, 89% state that access to green should be considered as a human right.95

4/9/13: Among the design professions, landscape architecture plays the most significant role in encouraging active living, thus contributing to public health. Landscape architects create and design environments that encourage daily exercise, provide clean air and water, and even supply nutritious food. This helps combat growing epidemics of depression, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.96

4/5/13: According to pediatrician Lawrence Rosen, whether the diagnosis is anxiety, depression, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, or migraine headaches, the message is clear: our children are suffering from stress. Getting kids back into nature is a key part of the solution to keeping kids healthy and truly creating wellness.97

4/4/13: We are the first generation to grow up exercising, BUT it turns out baby boomers may be in worse shape than the generation that came before. The day-to-day demand for physical activity has steadily declined. What can you do to put more physical activity into your daily routines?98

4/3/13: Today is the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day. On this day, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your family, friends and co-workers a friendly push toward a healthier life.99

4/2/13: There is growing research that indicates walking barefoot outside (called earthing or grounding) reconnects the body to Earth’s electrons, which can help people sleep better, reduce pain and generally feel healthier. Whether or not it turns out to be true, we know it sure feels great to go outside when the grass turns green, kick off our shoes and just enjoy the way it feels!100

3/29/13: If you are interested in the magical process of turning food waste into nature’s gold, try vermi-composting. This is a great project for kids and yields awesome results for plants. Check out DeSantis Landscape’s blog post here to learn how to do create your own DIY worm bin.101

3/28/13: Lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been reported in adults subsequent to performing the same mental activities in a garden setting vs. an indoor classroom.102

3/27/13: Get children involved in caring for plants. Kids love to get their hands dirty, so planting trees and flowers and adding mulch is a great, directing activity and a learning experience as they care for them and watch them grow. Creating planters with tomatoes or herbs or planting a small vegetable garden is another great way to get kids interested in being in the yard.103

3/26/13: Technology can be used in a fun way to get children wanting to investigate outside. iSpot helps people learn how to identify wildlife, but first you have to go outside and find some wildlife and take a picture of it. Then upload the picture to iSpot where people will help you identify it and learn more about it.104

3/22/13: Trees do more than provide decoration. As we learned in elementary school, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which helps reduce the impacts of fossil fuel use and keep the planet in balance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that “the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.”105

3/21/13: There may be a scientific reason why gardening makes people happy. Contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression.106

3/20/13: American homeowners increasingly are drawn to adding outdoor rooms for entertaining and recreation on their properties, according to the 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects. The results also show demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design. Read the survey results here.107

3/19/13: Hotels are encouraging guests to enjoy outside exercise by suggesting activities such as morning runs, afternoon power walks and bicycle rides. In cities with a strong running population, managers might be leading the morning run. Many U.S. hotels also offer bicycle borrowing, so the next time you are traveling, check out the opportunities around you for getting your exercise outside!108

3/15/13: Outdoor workouts might help you stick with exercising. Exercise outdoors tends to be more exciting and adventurous than the treadmill, so these kinds of workouts may help you stay engaged in your exercise routine.109

3/14/13: We have long appreciated libraries and the service they provide to help promote a lifelong love of reading, but some of them now have fishing equipment lending programs. What a great way to encourage people to get outside and enjoy nature. Maybe you could help start a program like this in your local library.110

3/13/13: Research shows that children who walk to school are more actively engaged with their local community, have wider social networks and have greater awareness of their local area and greater road sense. When children were asked to draw maps of their route to school, those who traveled by car were unable to remember the “middle bit” of their journey, compared to the walkers’ maps which included much more detail showing they paid far more attention to their surroundings.111

3/12/13: Statistics in the United Kingdom show a major difference in this generation’s children and the last generation. The roaming radius for kids has declined by 90%. Three times as many children are taken to the hospital each year after falling out of bed, as from falling out of trees. A 2008 study showed that half of all kids had been stopped from climbing trees. Think about ways you can help a child enjoy getting outside!112

3/8/13: Communities with more trees report lower crime rates and lower levels of anxiety. In one study from Texas A&M University, looking at trees reduced stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. Communities with lower levels of anxiety and lower crime rates also tend to have higher property values.113

3/7/13: After a high school gardening program, students were asked whether their capacity to pay attention changed after gardening, and 51 out of 52 said that it had improved. They also found gardening a contemplative task that gave them time to center and put the stresses at home and at school into perspective.114

3/6/13: “Sitting is the smoking of our generation.” We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping. What can we do? One idea is to incorporate outdoor walking meetings into our day. Besides getting physical activity, people feel more creative.115

3/5/13: According to the U.S. Forest Service, “trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 to 50 percent in energy used for heating.” If you’re selling your home, this effect of trees on your home could be a real selling point when talking to potential homebuyers.116

3/1/13: Do you need motivation to get outside when the weather is cold? Dog owners have the best motivation, but if you don’t have your own dog that needs walking, how about being a volunteer dog walker at a local animal shelter? Knowing that the dogs are counting on volunteers for the stimulation and exercise they need might help you to get out the door on really cold days. The dogs make great walking/running buddies and the miles go by a lot quicker when you see how much they enjoy it.117

2/28/13: A 2012 study of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors.118

2/27/13: Walking outside rather than inside has advantages. In a test where people walked outside one time and then on a treadmill inside the next time, on subsequent psychological tests, after walking outside, they scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue.119

2/22/13: The garden featured in this newsletter was created using a method of agriculture called Hugelkultur. To learn more about this gardening technique, check out this website.120

2/21/13: Go out and play! If you can’t seem to muster the energy to work out when it’s cold outside, try “playing” instead. You can burn quite a few calories playing. The best part about playing is that it doesn’t feel like working out, although you can still get your heart rate up and have an excellent cardio session.121

2/20/13: Research indicates that hammock naps are the best. With spring and warmer temperatures coming soon, think about hanging a hammock in your backyard and enjoy getting a restful nap in every once in a while.122

2/19/13: Businesses can take action to encourage their communities to Come Alive Outside. Carpenter & Costin in Rutland, Vermont, is planning a Snow Fun Day for their community on Friday, and you can read more about their preparation for it here.123

2/15/13: Nature’s Show and Tell: Young children love collecting objects in nature. If your child finds a special treasure, crouch down and take a moment to respond and talk about it. You might even set up a table in your house to display acorns, leaves, shells, feathers, rocks, seedpods, and other natural wonders from your neighborhood and beyond.124

2/14/13: Embrace the elements. Who says you can’t have a great time outdoors on a rainy or cold day? Dress right, have a silly adventure, and we bet you’ll be calmer and more contented when you come back indoors.125

2/13/13: It’s possible that outdoor rooms might even pay for themselves. In many parts of the U.S., you can build a great outdoor room for 1/4 to 1/5 of the cost of equal-quality interior space. So if you design it and build it in a way that people actually use it as living space for most of the year, then it’s entirely possible that you might need less interior space.126

2/12/13: Need to remember something? Go for a quick walk or run. A six-minute burst of exercise, like a quick walk, run or bike ride, can help enhance memory formation and help people recall things that they’ve recently learned.127

2/8/13: Kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside.128

2/7/13: Enhance enjoyment of nature for children by giving them magnifying lenses or a pair of binoculars. Get them to make sketches of what they see. Give older children a simple camera, if they show an inclination for photography. Buy them field guides to the common animals, birds, insects, or trees in your area; identifying plants and animals they see during their trips will help increase their knowledge and make a fun activity into a life-long passion.129

2/6/13: If you love nature yourself, it is very easy to develop this love in your children. Expose them to the natural world from the time they are young. Encourage them to play in the garden. Let them pick up and observe leaves, flowers, rocks, etc. Point out and name trees, insects, birds, and animals to them.130

2/5/13: Not every family has natural areas around their home or a park down the block, but almost every family sends their children to a school where there is a playground or playing fields. If part of this acreage were converted into nature play areas, habitats for study and gardens, all children could have a green haven in their lives. A place for calm, peace, and rapt absorption, as well as the other benefits of access to nature that research has documented.131

2/1/13: Researchers have discovered that walking significantly improves cognitive skills in senior citizens. Walking increases blood flow, oxygenation and nutritional content to the brain, which enhances brain function, improves energy and then removes waste products.132

1/31/13: Encourage your elderly relatives and friends to get outside and engage in activities that not only help to stimulate the brain, but keep muscles strong and emotions engaged.133

1/30/13: Like children who are kept indoors out of parental fears for their safety, older people may be in places that in many ways do the same thing. Is there an elderly person that you can help to get out and sit in nature for a while to enjoy the birds, trees and sun?134

1/29/13: The average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors, and as we get older we become even more inclined not to venture out. Create some reasons to enjoy your backyard. A fire pit in your outdoor living space is a natural gathering spot where friends and family will want to gather and enjoy the comfort of a warm fire outside on a cool evening.135

1/25/13: Studies have found that desk workers who can see nature from their desks experience 23% less time off sick than those who can not see any nature. They also report greater job satisfaction. Also, hospital patients with views of trees have been found to recover significantly faster than those who cannot see any natural features.136

1/24/13: Several studies in the USA have analyzed the effect of tree cover on the price of residential house sales, finding that values of properties in tree lined areas may be up to 6% greater than in similar areas without trees.137

1/23/13: Today, children still sit and play under trees and the intrigue and exuberance of planting a tree is a thrill. Children like trees. Children like planting trees. Children need trees. Set a goal to plant a tree with a child you know.138

1/22/13: There is growing evidence that there is a connection between trees and public health. In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas.139

1/18/13: A fun winter activity for little ones outside is to build a mini ice rink: Use an old kiddie pool. Fill it up with water and then slide around on it once it has frozen. For bigger kids and adults, there are backyard ice-rink kits or you can research how to make your own.140

1/17/13: Running on natural surfaces, specifically grass, is 15 to 35 percent easier on your joints–especially your knees–than running on pavement and also lessens the impact on the plantar fascia, the sensitive tissue that supports your arch. The shock absorption also makes your muscles work harder, so you get a better workout.141

1/16/13: Natural settings alleviate directed-attention fatigue (DAF), which occurs when the brain’s prefrontal cortex must constantly manage competing stimuli. DAF can cause impatience and irritability. Gazing at clouds and trees restores both mood and cognitive function.142

1/15/13: In a 2011 study of 128 college runners, researchers found that “surrounding greenness” was an indicator of better athletic performance. Other studies have shown that exercising in nature results in less fatigue, reduced anxiety, less hostility, more positive thoughts, and an overall feeling of invigoration.143

1/9/13: There are established methods of nature-based therapy (including wilderness, horticultural and animal-assisted therapy among others) that have success healing patients who previously had not responded to treatment.144

1/8/13: There is a technical explanation for the process that occurs when people “clear their head” by a walk in a natural setting. Apparently when people contemplate nature, the brain is relieved of excess circulation (or activity) and nervous system activity is reduced. An experience of nature can help strengthen the activities of the right hemisphere of the brain and restore harmony to the functions of the brain as a whole.145

1/4/13: Getting outside helps us to be more active. Studies show children to be more than doubly active when outside. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking, biking, gardening, cleaning up the yard, and doing other things that put the body in motion.146

1/3/13: There may be nothing you can do inside your house to reduce utility bills as effectively as building great outdoor rooms outside your house. A series of outdoor rooms around a house, if designed well enough, can entice you to spend a lot more time outdoors.147

1/2/13: The average American spends about $8,758 or 15% of their income a year on transportation, largely on automobiles, in direct costs. You might be able to save thousands of dollars a year by ditching the car and bicycling to work, and think of the added health benefits!148

1/1/13: Nature is not a destination–it’s in your backyard, neighborhood, local park, city, and everywhere you go. Take your family outdoors. Look up, down, all around. Let nature entertain you, teach you, envelop you. Encounters with nature define some of the quietest and most intimate moments of our lives, transporting us to a simpler time.149

12/28/12: Fresh Air Is Healthy! Studies have shown that contrary to the common belief that “exposure to cold air causes a cold,” fresh air is good and healthy. When children and adults spend a long time together in indoor spaces that are small, overheated and poorly ventilated, germs and illnesses pass easily from one person to another. In fresh, outdoor air, children do not have to rebreathe the germs of the group, and the chance for spreading infection is reduced.150

12/21/12: Field Guides are a great way to pique someone’s interest in their local flora and fauna! Being able to recognize and identify local species adds a challenge to even the smallest outings, including those into your own yard or neighborhood, as well as trips into the National Forest and Wilderness.151

12/20/12: Set a warm tone and extend the hours you’re enjoying your outdoor space with accent lighting. Even if you have outdoor lights hard-wired for the area, accent lights like candles in hurricane glasses or large apothecary jars add a warm glow and stay protected from the wind. If nearby tree branches allow, outdoor lanterns can be hung near the sitting area, even on pulleys to keep the light source up high, but enabling raising and lowering when needed.152

12/19/12: An outdoor living/grilling area ranked as the third-highest priority space, after a separate laundry room and additional closets/storage, in a recent survey of 4,000 readers by Better Homes and Gardens magazine.153

12/14/12: For most American children in the not-so-distant past, “going out to play” was the norm. Today, according to a University of Michigan study, children spend 50 percent less time outside than they did just 20 years ago – and the 6.5 hours a day they spend with electronic media means that sitting in front of a screen has replaced going out.154

12/13/12: The average American child spends just 4-7 minutes daily in unstructured outdoor play, a factor that has been tied to childhood obesity, stress, falling fitness levels and decreasing learning ability.155

12/12/12: Here’s a very simple reason you should get outside: Nature makes you nicer, enhancing social interactions, value for community and close relationships.156

12/7/12: According to Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Lab, interviews of all potential candidates include questions about their play experiences as children, because they’ve found a direct correlation between hands-on play and superior problem-solving skills.157

12/5/12: Don’t let colder weather keep you from taking pictures outside. There are lots of great photo opportunities out there whether your idea of a good time is ice fishing, snow shoeing or just plain walking in the winter wonderland. Cold weather offers exceptional opportunities for wonderful landscapes because of its crystal-clear air. Read here for tips for using your camera in cold temperatures.158

12/4/12: Go outside: It helps improve your focus-even when it’s cold out. University of Michigan psychology research explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention.159

11/30/12: Natural environments play an important role in enhancing human health and well-being, and managed natural elements attract customers and improve real estate values.160

11/29/12: Backyard ponds create a gathering spot for family and friends, which is a magnet focal point in pulling the family together. Water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world.161

11/28/12: Nearly 20% of buyers say they consider landscaping to be a “very important” factor in their decision to buy a house, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.162

11/27/12: If you’re interested in “testing the waters” of the water gardening hobby, a container water garden is a great place to start! They are generally used to add the sound of water to a deck or patio, but they also look great greeting visitors by the front door. But they don’t just add beauty, they also give kids a fun way to learn about nature, and make a great starter “pond” for any young children interested in water.163

11/21/12: Stargazing is a great activity as the daylight hours grow shorter. Taking the time to just get outside and look up at the sky on a starry night can help people by creating a sense of stillness and calm, can be relaxing, and puts people in tune with nature.164

11/20/12: Think about hosting an Outdoor Winter Party. Have a roaring bonfire, tell your guests to dress warm, serve hot foods and plan to play winter outdoor games. Everyone may find they are hardier than they thought!165

11/14/12: Ask anyone over 40 to recount their most treasured memories of childhood play, and few will be indoors. Fewer still will involve an adult. Independent play, outdoors and far from grown-up eyes, is what we remember. As things stand, today’s children will be unlikely to treasure memories like that: 21% of today’s kids regularly play outside, compared with 71% of their parents.166

11/9/12: Spending about 30 minutes in the sun can provide you with nearly a day’s supply of vitamin D through skin absorption, and having enough vitamin D in your body helps your bones form properly, reducing your risk of developing bone diseases. It may also reduce your risk of other diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.167

11/8/12: Inhaling fresh air helps clear your lungs and enables you to take deeper, longer breaths of air — which increases the amount of oxygen that’s transported to your body’s cells. Increased oxygen in your body translates to greater energy and clarity of mind.168

11/7/12: Walking is one of the best ways to get in extra exercise throughout the day and, with cooler weather, you can often get away with it without sweating too much, something that may make it easier to fit it in all day long. All you really need is a good pair of walking shoes and, perhaps, some fall weather gear to keep you warm, dry and protected. The key to making it enjoyable is to make it a daily thing.169

11/6/12: Make the most of fall! Invite some friends over for a backyard bonfire. The chill in the air makes fall the perfect time to sit together by the warmth of a blazing fire with a nice warm mug of cocoa or cider. Be sure to get any necessary permits from your town first.170

10/31/12: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.171

10/25/12: Unstructured outdoor activity is down by half from the previous generation. What one small thing can you do today to start changing this?172

10/24/12: The average American child can recognize 1,000 corporate logos but can’t identify 10 plants or animals native to his or her own region.173

10/4/12: There has been a 10% increase in the use of permeable pavers over the past three to four years. This rate may increase to at least 20% over the next five years as municipalities adopt strategies that encourage sustainable pavements and also offer credits to the private sector for sites that provide better land use.174

10/3/12: Many birds are looking for an inviting place to stop over during their winter migration or even stay for the season. Here are some things you can do to attract them: (1) provide running water, (2) clean out birdhouses, (3) create brush piles, (4) increase number of feeders and (5) plant evergreens.175

10/2/12: Fall is a favorite time for hiking, which is something almost anyone can do outside. It is inexpensive, allows you to enjoy nature, helps to prevent osteoporosis, provides cardiovascular benefits, and aids in weight loss to name just a few of the benefits. We are inviting you to a free webinar next Monday, October 8, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern to hear Brad Johnson talk about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Click here to read more about his experience and get registered for the webinar.
176

9/21/12: You can ride a bicycle almost anywhere, at any time of the year, and without spending a fortune. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%.177

9/20/12: You can add running to your exercise regimen by starting out with the right run-walk-run ratio. Start with a walk lasting 30 minutes and then insert segments of 5-10 seconds of running, every 1-2 minutes, every other day. Read this article for the the next steps to building up to running a 5K or 10K.178

9/19/12: Contrary to popular opinion, fall is the best time of the year for lawn care. Fertilization, weed and thatch control, establishment of new lawns, and renovation of poor quality lawns should be done over the next few weeks. Although many people consider fall a time to relax and watch football on television, don’t pick up the remote until the lawn care is done. Next year’s lawn will be the better for it.179

9/13/12: When the chill of fall forces you inside long before you are ready, extend your outdoor living by adding warmth to the area with an outdoor fire pit or fireplace. Remember the fun of a campfire when you were young? Adding a heat source to your outdoor living space can bring those memories back and help create new memories with friends and family. Keep warm with your choice of heat and extend your time enjoying your outdoor living space.180

9/12/12: Summer is ending quickly and temperatures are dropping around the country. That means it’s time to get your bird feeders ready for colder weather. It’s important to continue feeding birds throughout the fall and winter months because it becomes harder to find food and shelter.181

9/11/12: While most people think of spring as the best time for planting, avid gardeners know fall is good for planting perennials because the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall help the plant’s roots become well-established. The soil is still warm in the fall and allows roots to grow until the ground freezes. If the same plant is put in the ground in the spring, it gets a slower start because soils are cooler. If planted in the summer, it may become extremely stressed due to heat, drought and an insufficient root system. For the same reasons, turf grasses are often planted in the fall. Fall is also the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs and “cool crop” vegetables. 182

9/4/12: Long before the existence of synthetic fertilizers, plants obtained nutrients from decomposed organic matter such as bone, blood, fish and other organic waste. As more research and studies have been conducted, the detrimental effects of chemical fertilizers are being made aware and more people and environmental groups are beginning to tout the advantages of the organic fertilizers that are readily available now. Probably the most noteworthy advantage of organic fertilizers is the fact that they are mostly insoluble and therefore are slower to release nutrients to the plant. This reduces the leaching effect that results from most chemical fertilizers. The introduction of organic matter results in an improvement of the soil and stimulation of soil microbial activity. This will create an environment better able to support plant life and provide a slow and consistent flow of nutrients to the plant thus promoting a harmonious balance between soil and plant.183

8/30/12: Birdwatching is an excellent activity for spending more time outside. It is a great way to experience wildlife because it is so easy to learn how to attract birds in your own backyard by feeding them, building houses to attract specific types and creating baths for them. For help in getting started, click here.

8/29/12: Take your creative side outside. Have you ever tried drawing or painting outdoors? There’s even a term for it: en plein air, a French expression that means “in the open air.” You can try nature pictures, or many people enjoy doing this in the city.

8/23/12: End of Summer Challenge:
We challenge you to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day. Pass the challenge on to your family and friends, and let’s see how many people we can influence to enjoy the last days of summer outside.184

8/22/12: When introducing a youngster to the idea of fishing for the first time, keep it short, limiting the first experience to a couple of hours. Also, the bait and gear should be simple. Digging for worms can be as much fun as the actual fishing, the gear can be a simple “cane” pole, and don’t forget the traditional red and white bobber. Seeing a kid’s face light up when they land their first fish is an outdoor memory that will last a lifetime.185

8/21/12: 25 Outdoor Pleasures Every Kid Should Experience: 1-Blow a dandelion, 2-Roll down a grassy hill, 3-Splash in puddles, 4-Hold a ladybug, 5-Make a snowman, 6-Shout and listen to the echo of your voice, 7-Catch fireflies, 8-Climb a tree, 9-Skip stones across water, 10-Hold a caterpillar, 11-Whistle with a blade of grass, 12-Pick wild blackberries and eat them, 13-dig up some worms, 14-Look for a four-leaf clover, 15-Make snow angels, 16-Collect leaves in the Fall, 17-Catch a crawdad in a creek, 18-Look for shapes in the clouds, 19-Make a daisy chain, 20-Play in the rain, 21-Swing, 22-Play in the mud, 23-Catch a toad, 24-Wade barefoot in the creek, 25-Pick wildflowers.186

8/16/12: It’s too bad that the old-fashioned notion of summer as endless free time–to climb trees, chase fireflies, build a fort in the woods, maybe set up a lemonade stand–has fallen by the wayside. This is what kids need; they need it far more than they need a high-priced summer camp or some other program aimed at cramming a little bit more learning into their exhausted brains. Most experts agree that kids should have twice as much unstructured free time as structured playtime. In every episode of unstructured, unguided play, a child learns more and more about him or herself. It is this sense of self that provides a home base, a place to retreat to, throughout life.187

8/15/12: “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” – John Lubbock

8/14/12: To stay sane and to lead an enjoyable life, a work/play balance must be struck. Kite flying can be a great way to de-stress and relieve the anxieties of your stressful life, be it the life of a student, businessperson, doctor or other job. Kite flying allows you to get a breath of fresh air and allows you to clear your mind as you see your kite sway in the breeze and feel the gentle pressure of the wind. Kite flying can be a great way to get you and the family active outside.188

8/9/12: Exercising outdoors may be the spark some people need to get going to improve their fitness. Working out in parks or along a lakefront not only exposes people to the sun, which is a great mood booster, but it also provides great mental stimulation.189

8/8/12: In a study evaluating recess and play based programs, researchers from Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University have found that investing in recess and organized play can reduce bullying, improve student behavior, improve readiness for class, and provide more time for teaching and learning.190

8/7/12: No matter how spectacular the scenery, meals around the campfire are often the highlight of the camper’s day. In days gone by, cooking over an open fire could be taken for granted. Today, with concerns about air quality, restricted areas for camping and dwindling firewood stocks in many campgrounds, the freedom to cook over an open fire is a privilege which requires the utmost in caution and respect.191

8/2/12 Fact: Studies indicate that children who play and explore outdoors are less stressed and may further benefit by learning confidence and social skills. Choosing to climb a tree, hanging onto a rope swing, jumping over a log, or skipping stones are all examples of outdoor experiences in which children learn more about themselves, their decisions, and what to do in new settings.192

8/1/12 Fact: A kid playing in the sprinkler is summer’s rite of passage. Get the swimsuits on and the hose and sprinkler out. Running through the sprinkler is simple, but so much fun.193

7/31/12 Fact: With the summer heat, fishing at night is much more comfortable than throughout the daytime, even more productive, some fishermen say. Not only is the weather more pleasing, but there are fewer people crowding the lakes after dusk. The peacefulness increases with the sounds of frogs, crickets and critters scavenging through the dark woods. Even the sound of the water rippling up on the banks will relieve some of the daily stresses and let you relax while catching some of the biggest fish that will be feeding at night.194

7/26/12 Fact: Varieties of wild berries grow all over North America, which means berry-picking is a fun outdoor adventure any of us can enjoy. Many of us have forgotten the stunning flavor of all-natural, truly fresh berries. Fresh as in just picked, a few minutes ago with your own hands. One you are reacquainted with these delicious, organic treats, the taste of mass-produced versions pales in comparison. Always confirm the identity of the berry before you pick or eat anything, familiarize yourself with a good field guide, and enjoy the outdoors picking berries. Remember to make a little noise. Bears, snakes, and other critters like fresh berries as much as you do.195

7/25/12 Fact: During the summer months it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of household water is used for lawn and garden maintenance. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for those times that you need it most – during the dry summer months. Rain is naturally soft and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other harmful chemicals. The chemicals and hard water from many of our municipal water systems can add to chemical imbalances in soil and damage sensitive plants. Water collected from the roofs of houses picks up very little contamination, and is very healthy for plant life. Using rain barrels potentially helps homeowners lower water bills, while also improving the vitality of plants, flowers, trees, and lawns.196

7/24/12 Fact: Backyard ponds create a gathering spot for family and friends. Young children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents enjoy relaxing by the pond’s edge, and water features act like a magnet pulling the family together. Water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world. Lower your blood pressure and improve your physical and mental health as you prop your feet up and enjoy the therapeutic effects of Mother Nature.197

7/19/12 Fact: Did you know there’s actually a good use for all that dog and cat hair you constantly clean up? It’s excellent nutrition for the compost pile! So instead of dreading it, harvest and compost it! Hooray for pet hair!198

7/18/12 Fact: Researchers in Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting feel more restored and less anxious, angry, or depressed than people who burn the same amount of calories jogging in a built urban setting.199

7/17/12 Fact: Spending more time outdoors nurtures our “nature neurons” and our natural creativity. For example, at the University of Michigan, researchers demonstrated that, after just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent. In workplaces designed with nature in mind, employees are more productive and take less sick time.200

7/12/12 Fact: Research shows that well-designed pathways promote physical activity, play, and learning by providing children and teachers access to the outdoor learning environment, where children can go on journeys through the landscape, exploring along the way. Curvy pathways combined with shrubby adjacent landscaping will stimulate excitement, exploration, chase games, and higher levels of healthy physical activity.201

7/11/12 Fact: Grilling vegetables like asparagus, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and corn on the cob will increase your intake of phytochemicals. These naturally occurring compounds found in plants offer protection against cancer. Not charring foods, can also aid in cancer prevention.202

7/10/12 Fact: We need to protect our pollinators. Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated in order to produce. Learn to create pollinator friendly habitats that protect and encourage native bees, butterflies, and bats. Get outside to cultivate native plants, install bat houses, reduce pesticides, and substitute some lawn with flower beds.203

7/5/12 Fact: Kids love dirt! Put a spoon or a small shovel in their hand so they can dig a hole or make a mud pies. Let your kids get dirty: A growing number of researchers believe that good old-fashioned dirt play exposes children to a myriad of bacteria, viruses and microbes that strengthen their immune systems. So, dedicate a small part of your yard as a digging station.204

7/4/12 Fact: Don’t let a fear of bugs or chemical repellents curtail your enjoyment of being outdoors. Nutritionally, you can drink a tablespoon or two of organic apple cider vinegar, eat lots of garlic, and take daily doses of Vitamin B1 to help repel insects. Also, natural topical repellents, using a variety of herbal and essential oil mixtures can be effective and take just a few minutes to make. By learning new, healthier ways to avoid insects, you can be outside as much as you want.205

7/3/12 Fact: Fishing is a great outdoor hobby for the entire family. Basically, if you can sit on the side of the water and hold a fishing pole, you can fish. It’s a hobby in which pretty much all the family from young children to senior citizens can become involved and love it!206

6/28/12 Fact: Weight control and weight-related disease prevention aren’t the only benefits of outdoor exercise. Exposure to nature can reduce children’s stress levels by as much as 28 percent and a 20-minute walk in nature can help kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD concentrate better.207

6/27/12 Fact: Gardening is a healthy activity for parents who are looking for educational, outdoor things to do with their children this summer. Gardening is a fun way to teach kids about science, nature, and it gets them outside away from gadgets.208

6/26/12 Fact: We love our steaks, ribs and hotdogs when cooking outdoors, but let’s not forget the halibut, tilapia, salmon, flounder, and catfish when firing up your friendly barbecue. Served with a favorite side of potatoes, corn and salad, grilled fish fillets, fresh or salt water, are fantastic.209

6/21/12 Fact: What did you do during summer vacation when you were a kid? Be careful about “over-programming” your child’s summer schedule with camps and other organized activities. Kids need time to just run around, play in the sprinkler, eat popsicles, and seek adventures in their own backyards. Children lose out when not allowed time for unstructured play.210

6/20/12 Fact: Bats play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Each night all over the country, bats emerge from their daytime habitats and consume thousands of tons of insects, helping to control our insect populations and maintain agricultural pests at a reasonable level. By filling key ecological roles as pollinators, seed dispersers and predators of insect populations, bats help to maintain the balance and ecological integrity of the earth’s ecosystems.211

6/19/12 Fact: You do not have to travel to the countryside or rural forest in order to see nature. Parks, playgrounds, and even beaches, are waiting to be discovered right in your city. In the 85 largest U.S. cities, there are over 20,000 parks, covering over 1.4 million acres.212

6/14/12 Fact: Bicycling can be a thrilling way to explore the outdoors. Bicycling promotes health, togetherness, and teaches a certain amount of unspoken etiquette, a sort of “rules of the road” for bicyclers on paths. Great reasons to get your family together, outside to enjoy the outdoors on bikes!213

6/13/12 Fact: The richness in the outdoors is far more stimulating and gets the mind working more than only watching television or playing electronic games. There is no substitute for what experience in nature brings to kids’ development. In fact, children who play and learn on a regular basis in the outdoors tend to have higher school achievement and test scores.214

6/12/12 Fact: Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.215

6/6/12 Fact: Enjoy swimming season, but be safe. Someone shared a great tip with us about how drowning doesn’t necessarily look the way we expect. Take time to read the whole article here.216

6/5/12 Fact: Lemonade Day is a great opportunity for parents, businesses and communities to help children learn more about money and entrepreneurship skills they can use in their future, all while enjoying being outside. Watch this great webinar recording for more information.

5/24/12 Fact: Did you know that only 20% of the world’s population wears shoes? Going barefoot outside can be very beneficial. It can clear your mind by causing you to focus on the present, provide you with free foot yoga and a reflexology session, and decrease anxiety and depression, just to name a few.217

5/23/12 Fact: Looking for things to do outside? How about creating leaf or bark rubbings, find directions without a compass, or have a scavenger hunt? For a great list of ideas along with instructions, take a look at this Book of Stuff to Do Outside.218

5/17/12 Fact: One of the most exciting ways to teach young people about the natural world is to take them outdoors. Don’t be intimidated by the idea. You can start small and learn together while being flexible and having fun!219

5/16/12 Fact: An outdoor meditation area has many benefits, such as aiding in mental and physical ailments. Getting outside to meditate helps to remove daily stressors found in the house. The sounds you hear are important too, and an outdoor water feature is an ideal soothing sound.220

5/15/12 Fact: Looking for something fun to do outside for children, teenagers or adults? How about a nature collection? This could be in the form of nature samples like rocks, feathers or leaves. If you don’t have a lot of room, you could start nature observations where the sky is the limit in writing about what you observe. Nature photography is another great option.221

5/10/12 Fact: If you don’t have a lot of yard space, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden. There are all kinds of ways for people to have small-space gardens, such as a patio garden, window boxes, pallet planter, recycled wine barrel planter and hanging gutters for a planter. Use your imagination!222

5/9/12 Fact: Looking for a fun way to get kids to spend more time outside? A tire swing is something a lot of us have in our childhood memories. Check out this link for how to set one up in your yard.223

5/4/12 Fact: According to the California Energy Commission: “Planting the correct trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover can make your home both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. In fact, the right type of tree can reduce your summer cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent!”224

5/3/12 Fact: According to the California Energy Commission: “Planting the correct trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover can make your home both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. In fact, the right type of tree can reduce your summer cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent!”225

5/2/12 Fact: Businesses benefit from a green space environment. Studies revealed that drivers found it was easier to locate roadside businesses when they were framed by trees and vegetation, rather than having this green material removed.226

5/1/12 Fact: Use outdoor dining as a time for family and bonding. A Sunday lunch, picnic or barbecue outside creates the perfect setting for some great family time. Good food, fresh air and family gatherings make for great memories!227

4/27/12 Fact: Stargazing is a great hobby for parents and children to do together. It’s budget friendly, encourages wonder, and is educational, all while encouraging bonding.228

4/26/12 Fact: Research suggests that exposure to the natural world – including nearby nature in cities – helps improve human health, well-being, and intellectual capacity in ways that science is only recently beginning to understand.229

4/25/12 Fact: Running outside and on a treadmill may look similar, but running outside will increase your work load from 2 percent to 10 percent through air resistance. As you transition from a walk to a run, the wind resistance increases. So as you improve, running naturally becomes more difficult.230

4/24/12 Fact: Your performance during exercise depends on your level of involvement. When you go for a jog, your brain does not zone out like it does at the gym. We must be constantly aware of our changing environment. By actively engaging our surroundings, we enhance our proprioceptive capabilities.231

4/20/12 Fact: At least once during the workday, get out of the office. Studies show that spending time outdoors provides a boost by reducing stress hormones and lowering blood pressure.232

4/19/12 Fact: Go outside into the sunlight; light deprivation is one reason that people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning. And while you’re outside … Go for a brisk walk. One study found that even a ten-minute walk was enough to supply a feeling of energy and decreased tension.233

4/17/12 Fact: Time in nature is often recommended as a stress-management technique to promote relaxation. Many studies have proven strong evidence that encounters with natural settings can produce significant recovery from stress within three to five minutes.234

4/13/12 Fact: Sixty minutes of brisk walking a day may beat back obesity in people with so-called fat genes.235

4/12/12 Fact: Hiking helps increase bone density and strength, helping prevent the calcium loss and chance of broken bones from osteoporosis.236

4/11/12 Fact: As you age, you do not need to experience a decline in physical activity. By staying active, your muscles stay strong. As you get older, your body will weaken, but regular hiking helps minimize that.237

4/10/12 Fact: Over 2500 Americans die every day from cardiovascular diseases. A regular walking routine greatly reduces your chances of heart problems. Studies show that regular, light exercise increases your odds immensely.238

4/6/12 Fact: Indoor living is associated with being sedentary, particularly for children, while being outdoors is associated with activity. British researchers used Global Positioning System devices and accelerometers, which sense movement, to track the activity of 1,000 children. They found that the children were more than doubly active when they were outside.239

4/5/12 Fact: There are many benefits to getting outside and breathing fresh air. Here are just a few:

  1. Helps the airways of your lungs to dilate more fully and improves the cleansing action of your lungs
  2. Helps to improve your heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate
  3. Helps your immune system fight off disease more effectively240

4/4/12 Fact: The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a “Green Hour” every day. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play. Scientific research shows kids are happier and healthier when outdoor time is in better balance with indoor time.241

4/3/12 Fact: Spring is the perfect time to hone your observation skills by going for a Walk ‘n’ Sniff. See how many different blooms you can discover and notice other smells such as fresh cut grass (easy to find on a Saturday morning), ponds or puddles, a light breeze, soil, dried leaves, and more.242

3/30/12 Fact: Although research indicates that there was a decline in deaths from all cancers combined from 2004-2008 in the United States, there is a worrisome rise in cases linked to obesity and inactivity. Excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors for one-quarter to one-third of common cancers in the USA. About one-third of adults – almost 78 million – are obese, roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. 243

3/28/12 Fact: Children who learned in outdoor classrooms increased science scores by 27%. – California Department of Education 2005 Study244

3/27/12 Fact: There is evidence that for children whose time is structured, they generally need to travel by car to an activity, whereas children who have unstructured time will be seen walking. This study concluded with “letting children go out to play is one of the best things that parents can do for their children’s health.”245

3/22/12 Fact: Just one daily hour of outdoor play helps ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.246

3/21/12 Fact: Some doctors are prescribing a walk in the park to aid patient’s health as it has been proven to reduce the risk of a heart attack by 50 percent, diabetes by 50 percent, colon cancer by 30 percent, and fracture of the femur by up to 40 percent. If done as part of a group, walking offers social benefits, too.247

3/20/12 Fact: 20 percent of our four-year-olds are overweight and 8.5 percent of six-year-olds and 15 percent of 15-year-olds are obese. Obesity is linked to increasing less physical lifestyle and a reduction in outdoor activity.248

3/15/12 Fact: Gardening is a great way to release our creativity. Planning the garden for the year or the season, choosing flower colors and plant palettes, and arranging the fresh flowers from your garden all require you to use your creative side. So whether it’s a small-container garden or a large backyard garden, start planning now.249

3/14/12 Fact: Many people find that working in the garden reduces stress while providing the opportunity to unplug from technology and slow down the pace of our lives.250

3/13/12 Fact: Gardening is a great form of exercise, and you can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics. You also use many different muscle groups and increase your flexibility and strength.251

3/9/12 Fact: Playing outside without coaches or parents, but with other kids, fosters imagination and helps teach youngsters to share, cooperate and solve problems. It “demands of us that we create a fort out of a backyard, a treehouse out of a tree and a bunch of old boards,” said Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center for Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston.252

3/8/12 Fact: Exposure to UV radiation appears to suppress an overactive immune system, which could explain why exposure to UV rays may help with autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and lupus.253

3/7/12 Fact: Getting outside can help you sleep better at night because natural sunlight shuts off production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you drowsy. Going outside for 15 minutes at the same time each day, preferably in the morning, gives your body a clear signal that it’s no longer night.254

3/6/12 Fact: Five minutes a day of Green Exercise (outdoor activity in presence of trees, open sky, water, garden or other natural scenery) can give people a big improvement in mood or self-esteem. Suggestion: get out of the office to walk to a tree, park or garden. Take a few deep breaths, and back you go.255

3/1/12 Fact: Public health professionals are now saying that today’s children may have life spans that are three-to-five years shorter than their parents’ due to their inactive, indoor lifestyles.256

2/29/12 Fact: The negative impact of decreased time outdoors includes a doubling of the childhood obesity rate–accompanied by an incremental hundred billion dollar cost to our health care system–as well as declining creativity, concentration and social skills.257

2/28/12 Fact: Kids today spend on average more than seven hours each day in front of electronic media. In contrast, they spend only four to seven minutes per day in unstructured outdoor activities like climbing trees, building forts, playing hide and seek, or bike riding on a sunny afternoon.258

2/24/12 Fact: Recent studies find that kids who get outdoor time have less nearsightedness and need for eye glasses. Apparently being outside is a good time for exercising the eyes to see in the distance.259

2/23/12 Fact: The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11.260

2/22/12 Fact: Being outside in nature for just 20 minutes a day is enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities. So instead of reaching for that next cup of coffee, take a walk outside.261

2/15/12 Fact: Many children can tell us all about the Amazon rain forest but nothing about the plants and animals of their own neighborhoods. Science is mainly taught in a classroom, but many children learn better in natural environments. “Want your kids to get into Harvard? Tell ’em to go outside.”262

2/14/12 Fact: If teachers want improved behavior from children, they need to make sure they get outside for recess. Recess helps solve behavioral problems in class.263

2/9/12 Fact: People try everything to improve cognitive performance from drinking Red Bull to redesigning their office layout, but few treatments are as effective as simply taking a walk in a natural place.264

2/8/12 Fact: Nature captures our attention without triggering negative emotional responses like sounds in the city might (such as a siren or backfiring car). Immersion in nature has a restorative effect on the brain.265

2/7/12 Fact: Nature is beneficial for the brain. Patients who can see trees from their hospital window recover more quickly. Women in public housing can focus better when their apartment overlooks a grassy courtyard.266

2/2/12 Fact: Natural outdoor environments have three qualities that are unique and appealing to children as play environments – their unending diversity; the fact that they are not created by adults; and their feeling of timelessness – the landscapes, trees, rivers described in fairy tales and myths still exist today.267

2/1/12 Fact: Childhood and outdoor play are no longer synonymous. Today, many children live what one play authority has referred to as a childhood of imprisonment. Child care facility playgrounds are often the only outdoor activities that many young children experience anymore.268

1/31/12 Fact: “Children learn on the playground — they learn about nature, weather and the seasons, motion, concepts of distance and speed, and cause and effect. They learn how to negotiate and talk with their peers. And they learn fundamental gross motor skills, like how to throw and catch a ball, and how to skip.”269

1/26/12 Fact: According to Tina Vindum, the author of Tina Vindum’s Outdoor Fitness: Step Out of the Gym into the Best Shape of Your Life, exercising outside causes your mind to become aware of the changing terrain. Whether you use the hills, the sand on a beach, or a winding path, your mind has to focus differently than it would on a flat gym floor.”270

1/25/12 Fact: Scientists recommend outdoor exercise as a way to get your vitamin D through sunlight. This is especially important if you are overweight – a recent study found that people who are overweight are almost twice as likely to be deficient in vitamin D.271

1/24/12 Fact: Do you need some reasons to exercise outside instead of at a gym?272
– No membership fees
– The air is cleaner.
– A free daily dose of Vitamin D
– Exercise for your mind

1/20/12 Fact: School curriculum can be enhanced by a good outdoor environment. Research indicates that when outdoor environment is used to integrate a school’s curriculum, achievement is higher.273

1/19/12 Fact: Not only is being outdoors pleasant for children, its richness and novelty stimulate brain development and function. Generations of kindergarteners have been taken on farm visits so they could read, write, draw, converse, and know about pumpkins, cows, and cornstalks.274

1/13/12 Fact: It takes about 21 days to turn new behaviors into habits that will stick with you. Use a pedometer to help build the habit of walking, because it will motivate you to add more steps each day.275

1/12/12 Fact: Winter with cold temperatures and shorter daylight hours can bring about seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in people. One way to help is to get outside – There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch.276

1/11/12 Fact: In addition to promoting bone health, enjoying the sunshine could help older people reduce their risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to scientists.277

1/10/12 Fact: Many people lack Vitamin D because they do not spend any time outside in the sun. Just 5-15 minutes of exposure to sunlight daily (without sunscreen) may be enough to ensure that your Vitamin D levels remain optimal.278

1/5/12 Fact: Going for an outdoor run or bike ride when it’s 40 degrees outside might not seem like your idea of a good time, when you know the treadmill offers warmth. However, exercising outdoors breaks up the monotony of the gym, increases calorie burn, and can also help performance increase.279

1/4/12 Fact: Don’t hunker down in the winter. It’s important to get outside and get in the sunshine. Lack of sun exposure can actually cause depression. Sunlight affects the neurotransmitters in our brain and helps to release all those feel good chemicals.280

1/3/12 Fact: Contact with nature reduces stress, promotes physical and emotional well-being and has even been shown to boost cognition–people actually think more clearly after a hike in the fresh air.281

12/30/11 Fact: The air outdoors is cleaner. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is more than twice as polluted as outdoor air.282

12/29/11 Fact: Burn calories while playing in the snow.
Building a snowman: 285 calories per hour
Snowball fight: 319 calories per hour
Making snow angels: 214 calories per hour283

12/28/11 Fact: To make exercise more pleasurable, do it outdoors. Working out alfresco ups enjoyment and yields greater mood and energy boosts as well.284

12/22/11 Fact: Exercise or walking 30 minutes a day increases quality of life and reduces the following: pain of knee arthritis, progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s, progression of diabetes, risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women, anxiety, depression, risk of death and fatigue.285

12/21/11 Fact: People who watch 6 hours of TV per day can expect to live 5 years less than those who watch no TV.286

12/20/11 Fact: Low cardio-respiratory fitness is a stronger predictor of death than obesity, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes. For more information, watch video here.287

12/15/11 Fact: The desire to extend the home into the great outdoors has been growing for years. According to Canadian Home Trends Magazine, 48% of home renovations planned by its readers are focused on the patio, deck or outdoor space.288

12/14/11 Fact: In 2006, Americans spent in excess of $3 billion on outdoor furnishings, as well as nearly $3 billion more on barbecue grills, equipment and accessories; and outdoor hearth products such as chimineas, firepits and portable heaters are selling at record levels.289

12/13/11 Fact: A patio or deck is one of the top three features most requested of new home buyers.290

12/8/11 Fact: According to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Fund, young people ages 8-18 spend more than 7-1/2 hours a day on smart phones and computers and watching television–over 53 hours a week plugged into electronic media, and an increase over five years earlier.291

12/7/11 Fact: Children who are allowed to play and explore outside are likely to be more adventurous, self-motivated and better able to understand risk when they grow up, while children who spend a lot of time on the computer tend to spend a lot of time alone, away from reality.292

12/6/11 Fact: The more children play, the more they laugh, especially when outside. Children who play most laugh up to 20 times as much as children who play less.293

12/1/11 Fact: Tranquil environments are important for wellbeing. When people are surrounded by images of nature and hear natural sounds rather than mechanical noises, they find it easier to recover from stress.294

11/30/11 Fact: Students who frequently make use of campus green space rate their quality of life higher than students who use campus green spaces less frequently.295

11/29/11 Fact: Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health.296

11/24/11 Fact: Second way your body responds to aerobic exercise: Your heart will beat faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.297

11/23/11 Fact: One way your body responds to aerobic exercise: You’ll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.298 Try a game of touch football during halftime this week.

11/22/11 Fact: Research shows that regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging.299

11/17/11 Fact: Google has outdoor spaces at their building in Manhattan designed in 4 themed gardens, and employees love it because they can go walk through the gardens, a treat in an urban setting. They can make s’mores in the camp garden, grow vegetables in the farm space, meditate in the “chill” or go to the “bliss” for a happy atmosphere.300

11/16/11 Fact: Healthy employees tend to be more productive and have fewer health care costs, which are beneficial to a company’s bottom line. Companies can add physical activity to workdays with a well-designed landscape.301

11/15/11 Fact: Outdoor spaces provide the following benefits: (1) serve many purposes from one-on-ones to department celebrations, (2) spark creativity and increase productivity, (3) provide cost-effective use of space that is convenient, and (4) show appreciation of your employees. Watch this video to see what Sebert Landscape has done to create a LEED certified facility that inspires their employees.302

11/10/11 Fact: Outdoor play helps young children use their most powerful form of learning. Young children learn by doing and by exploring with their senses. Children remember much more of the learning that they do through their senses.303

11/9/11 Fact: Physically active free play helps children to be more attentive and less restless at other times of the day. Having free play outdoors as a regular part of your schedule allows children to release tension and gives them a way to express and explore ideas and emotions through play.304

11/8/11 Fact: Take advantage of the fall weather. Fall can be a treat for the senses: the crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin carving, a gorgeous canopy of fall foliage, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. These months are a great time to exercise outdoors and enjoy cooler temperatures.305

11/3/11 Fact: Why should we go outside and not just go to the gym? A recent study found in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that the vitamin D we receive as a result of being outdoors is a natural prevention against cardiovascular disease and cancer plus the vitamin D makes us happier, healthier people.306

11/2/11 Fact: Outdoor activity and exercise is beneficial not only to the average adult’s health but to their relationships as well. Spouses who receive adequate amounts of exercise have a higher satisfaction in their marriages and family life.307

11/1/11 Fact: Outdoor activity is not just important for children and youth but for all demographics of age. Getting active and outside is particularly crucial for senior citizens. Not only does the activity keep seniors in better overall health, but being outdoors is linked to a sense of independence which increases quality of life.308

10/27/11 Fact: The message we represent with Come Alive Outside is not unique to North America but is being collectively promoted worldwide, such as with The Comrad’s Marathon Association promoting competitive running as a healthy lifestyle choice to South Africans.309

10/26/11 Fact: In the UK, the government has put together a program promoting healthy active living based on the continuous lead up to the 2010 London Olympics. The goal of the program is to inspire 2 million people to get active.310

10/25/11 Fact: The Australian Government has started the Australian Better Health Initiative, which recently has dedicated $12 million to implement both school and community programs to promote healthy active living and eating.311

10/21/11 Fact: Where people have good access to formal green space, they are 24% more likely to be physically active. If there was equitable access to green space, then the saving to the health service could be in the order of £2.1 billion (or $3.3 billion) per year.312

10/20/11 Fact: Contact with green spaces, in many studies, has been proven to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stress levels and has even been linked to faster healing times after surgical operations.313

10/19/11 Fact: In the UK, the addition of green spaces in impoverished communities is being used as a method of tackling health inequalities seen between poorer and richer neighborhoods. Green environments not only improve our day-to-day lifestyles, but they help bridge the gap between differences that exist in our societies across the world.314

10/12/11 Fact: The secret to improving your health is just a tail wag away. Your best workout buddy just may be your dog. The payoffs: you and your dog can become fit and healthy together. You will enjoy happier, healthier years together, have improved strength and flexibility, be at reduced risks for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and other conditions, and save money on doctor and veterinary bills.315

10/11/11 Fact: Exercising with your pet can be a great way to feel motivated to live a more active lifestyle and to have a lot of fun with your furry companion. It has also been shown to decrease blood pressure and can increase “feel-good” hormones in your body.316

10/6/11 Fact: Outdoor classroom teaching promotes both teamwork and relationship building among students. This experience doesn’t just stop with the classroom; it carries through and creates stronger relationships between schools and their communities.317

10/5/11 Fact: Outdoor learning is happening all around the world. In the UK, 57% of surveyed teachers participating in the Learning through Landscapes Project reported an increase in student self-esteem associated with outdoor teaching and participation.318

10/4/11 Fact: 61 percent of American kids are reported to spend less than two hours outside on an average weekday, while 77 percent of American kids spend two or more hours a day outside during a day on the weekend. It is suggested that the amount of time kids spend in school limits the time they spend outdoors. How do we change this? What if we brought school and outdoor activity together?319

9/29/11 Fact: Families that play sports together tend to have a more stable dynamic. There is correlation between families that are oriented around a common goal (such as sport) and stable families.320

9/28/11 Fact: Children that participate in sport have a greater self-esteem level.321

9/27/11 Fact: In 1979, 1,750,264 girls were involved in high school athletic programs across the country. In 2008, 3,057,266 girls participated in high school athletic programs!322

9/22/11 Fact: Family activity is one the most successful methods of combating childhood obesity. Let’s lead by example. Make healthy lifestyle choices in your life and your children will follow.323

9/21/11 Fact: Women are more likely to take part in exercise as a member of an active family than as a single individual. Family members can be that extra push to live a healthier lifestyle.324

9/20/11 Fact: Families that set fitness goals together grow in stability, self-esteem and respect for one another. Instead of sitting down together to watch your favorite TV show, why not go for a family walk or bike ride?325

9/15/11 Fact: Physical Activity in the natural environment has a greater influence on your state of mind and self-confidence than physical activity indoors. Get outside and feel good!326

9/14/11 Fact: Exercise is related to positive mental health by decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Healthy body, healthy mind!327

9/13/11 Fact: 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem in 2012. Why do we talk so little about something that causes so much suffering in our society?328

9/8/11 Fact: Countries with higher active transport levels have lower obesity rates. Let’s make our society a healthier and greener place to live. Take the stairs today or walk to work!

9/7/11 Fact: 24% of American adults are obese. Imagine if we lowered that number by 1%. That would mean 3,070,065 healthier Americans.

9/6/11 Fact: Only 8% of American transportation is active transportation, biking or walking. What impact could it have if that number went to 16% in the next five years?

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