Fall is nearly here, and you can boost your health and connect with nature, your friends and your family by getting outside and into green space.
“Due to the pandemic, we are gaining a fuller understanding of the importance of the outdoors – from our yard and parks to school yards and sports fields. They are essential to our well-being and to nature, itself,” said Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation, which directs the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program, and The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).
TurfMutt has advocated the importance of managed landscapes and other green space as critical to human health and happiness for over a decade.
“We are reconnecting to the family yard in a way we haven’t seen for many years,” said Kiser. He noted that time spent in green space like your yard, is really good for you.
“Research shows that time spent outside reduces stress for adults and children alike,” said Kiser. With indoor gatherings limited in many areas and many people eager to see family and friends, the safest place to spend a fall evening catching up and socializing is your yard.
1Reconnect with yourself and others.
Unplug from your computer, television, and smartphone by getting outside. Disconnecting from electronics, to-do lists and the news cycle lets you re-connect to nature, family and friends.
2Burn more calories.
A brisk walk around the block or a few minutes of yard work can help you drop the extra “COVID 15” weight that many have added while sheltering at home during the pandemic. Exercising and exertion in cooler temperatures also burns more calories.
3Get a happiness boost.
Fall afternoons in the yard are great for soaking up sunshine and natural Vitamin D, which can improve your mood and support overall health.
4Give your eyes a break.
We spend a lot of time looking at screens – on our TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones. This can overstimulate our eyes and lead to nearsightedness. Just walking outside, you give your eyes an opportunity to relax and widen their focus, as they look at the ground in front of you and to the landscape around you.
5Boost your energy.
Spending time in nature and breathing fresh air increases energy levels in 90 percent of people, according to research.
6Stimulate your brain.
Fall yard work in cooler weather, such as digging in planting beds, mulching leaves, aerating soil and planting trees or shrubs is all good for your brain. Research shows people perform tasks better when temperatures are cooler. Go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or do a few minutes of yard work.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017-2019 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.