outdoors

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Take It Outside Week is October 14th to 20th, 2012. Fall is the perfect time of year to head outside and enjoy the season. It’s healthy for you, your children and helps to connect you back to nature.

Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) created Take it Outside Week in 2009 as encouragement for educators, families and caregivers to make time outdoors a part of a child’s daily schedule. So join HSBS the third week of every October to celebrate our natural world and go play outdoors.

Some facts you may not know:

  • Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation in history.
  • Free play and discretionary time has declined more than 9 hours a week over the last 25 years.
  • A new Nielson Company Report indicates that children ages two to five years old now average more than 32 hours a week in front of a TV screen.
  • According to the Keiser Family Foundation, the amount of screen time only increases with age, with school-aged children spending 6.5 hours a day on electronic media.
  • The percentage of preschool children who are overweight more than tripled between 1971 and 2009.

According to research children who play outdoors regularly:

  • Become fitter and leaner.
  • Develop stronger immune systems.
  • Have more active imaginations.
  • Have lower stress levels.
  • Play more creatively.
  • Have greater respect for themselves, others and our environment.

According to a government estimate, the average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors and as we get older we become more inclined to stay inside.

The benefits of being outdoors extends well beyond childhood.

The good folks over at Harvard Medical School give some great reasons for all of us to get outside:

  • Your vitamin D levels will go up.
  • You’ll get more exercise (especially if you’re a child).
  • You’ll be happier (especially if your exercise includes green spaces).
  • Your concentration will improve.
  • You may heal faster.

To read the whole story, head over to www.health.harvard.edu.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

National Wildlife Federation

Part of National Wildlife Federation‘s (NWF) mission is to connect kids to nature. Families connected to the outdoors raise healthier kids and inspire a life-long appreciation of wildlife and nature. As a result, NWF has created several programs and events designed to make experiencing the benefits of free time outdoors easy. In addition, they are advocates for public policies on the federal, state and local level that increase outdoor recreation opportunities for children.

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