Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Simple Suggestion #231... Develop an "outdoors habit"

The David Suzuki Foundation sends me spam emails that I actually don't mind receiving. And for Earth Day, today, they've sent a good one -- a reminder to join their 30x30 Nature Challenge. Basically, it encourages its participants to get outdoors 30 minutes a day for the month of May.

It's a good idea -- we all need more nature in our lives. The first half of the video above is a lifestyle devoid of fresh air and green space, something that improves human well-being more than any sitcom or computer game ever could. Within two minutes of encountering nature, muscle tension, and heart rate slow. An hour in nature improves memory performance and attention span by 20%. Just think what a whole weekend in nature does for our health!

As a kid whose parents worked most Saturdays, I remember how my sisters and I would often spend much of the day watching Saturday cartoons and kids programming. And how awful I felt after 8 hours in front of the TV. And how I swore I would never do it again, but somehow, often did. Not that I'm the most active person, but over the years I've come to appreciate how important it is to get outside daily, to take a little walk or wander around the yard or neighbourhood to see what's new. It costs nothing, and requires no special equipment. Since I've developed an "outdoors addiction" it blows my mind to think that many people spend 6-10 hours a day in passive, screen-based activities, barely coming out of the gloom.

Of course, it's not essential to sign up for the 30x30 Nature Challenge, though some people appreciate programs that hold them accountable to do what they say they will do. If you're one of those, you can access the Suzuki Foundation's Challenge website by clicking here.

Otherwise, just get outside. For 30 minutes, or more, or maybe a little less, each day. Your body will thank you.

And -- have a Happy Earth Day! I think I'll go spend 30 minutes turning over my compost pile.

P.S. For more Simple Suggestions, click here.

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