A growing body of scientific evidence proves getting outside (i.e. being an “outsider”) is good for our health and well-being. Exploring and appreciating nature – in our own backyards, community parks, and schoolyards – reduces stress, improves memory, boosts heart health, and offers a host of other benefits for our minds and bodies.
“Having a living landscape of grass, trees, shrubs, and flowering plants is good. Using this outdoor space to reap the health benefits it offers is even better,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), whose Foundation created TurfMutt an environmental education and stewardship program that teaches the value and benefits of the outdoors. “Getting outside, even for just 10 minutes, can do much to boost your mood, productivity, and quality of life.”
On its 10th Anniversary, TurfMutt shares 10 easy ways you can enjoy nature in under 10 minutes.
- Take a walk. Lace up your athletic shoes and head out for a walk around the block or to your neighborhood park. While you’re out, commit to turning off your cell phone and enjoying the natural setting around you (it’s just 10 minutes, after all!).
- Get your kids moving. A rousing game of tag or hide and seek in the family yard is a great way to counter computer and screen time.
- Play with your dog. A dog’s favorite “room” of the house is your family yard. Take inspiration from your pooch and spend a few minutes outside playing Frisbee or fetch.
- Clean up your outdoor living room. Make simple work of yard chores by breaking them up into smaller chunks. Ten minutes is enough time to put a serious dent in weeding a flower bed, sweeping off the back patio, or picking up debris from your lawn.
- Plant something. It is spring planting season, so take 10 minutes to dig a hole and introduce a new plant or get started on your vegetable garden or flower beds.
- Dine al fresco. Taking a meal outside is one of the easiest – and most nourishing – ways to enjoy the outdoor space around you. Have breakfast with the backyard birds. Lunch at a park near your office. Enjoy your coffee break under a shade tree.
- Study or read a book. Take the “work” out of homework by moving study or reading sessions to your backyard or community green space.
- Swap a (short) commute for walking or biking. Do you typically use your car to run down to the mailbox, to a nearby convenience store, or to run other nearby daily errands? If it’s not too far, take a short walk or ride your bike instead.
- Meet outside. Fresh air can be a catalyst for fresh ideas, so take your next brainstorming session for work outdoors. Need to have a heart-to-heart with your child? Scientists have discovered that communication between parents and children is more connected when conducted outside.
- Sit back and relax. Sometimes the best thing to do is absolutely nothing at all. Spend some time in a hammock, spread a blanket out on the grass, or take a meditation break outside to soak up the nature around you.