According to a 2012 Canadian survey, 70% of Canadian youth between the ages of 13-20 spend less than 1 hour outside each day. I would venture to guess that the statistic hasn’t improved since then and that the indoor epidemic is not just affecting this age group of people. Yesterday, the only time I spent outside was the time it took me to walk back and forth from my car to wherever I happened to need to go (work, home, dentist office, skating rink and the grocery store). If I add it all up, it was certainly less than 1 hour.
We all know that being outside is good for us, but maybe sometimes we all need to be reminded of exactly why it’s good for us, and why we need to make time to spend outdoors. I proved yesterday that I need to be reminded.
Here are a few of the reasons it’s important to spend time outside: Increased Vitamin D intake, exercise in nature feels less like exercise, increased brain function and alertness, it’s good for your mental health, reduces stress and it will help you sleep better at night. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up for yourself on the internet, or better yet, go outside and test it out for yourself!
No doubt many people will spend their weekend getting their backyards ready for the summer, raking any leaves and garbage that may have accumulated over the winter, getting the garden ready to be planted, cleaning out last year’s plant debris from flower beds and just generally tidying up. Yard work is one of the 150 things to do in Lethbridge that is included in the Lethbridge Sport Council Initiative #YQLChallenge. If you tackle your yard this weekend, be sure to check it off your passport, and check in online as well at www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available)
So how about it? I’m going to make sure I get in enough outdoor time this weekend, soaking in the Vitamin D, and then hopefully sleeping like a baby! I’m also planning to check a couple more things off of my #YQLChallenge passport, like ‘Walk in Lethbridge’, because I think the turtles at Elizabeth Hall Wetlands might be calling my name, and bocce, because after we clean up the yard, it’ll be time to enjoy it!
If you haven’t already joined the #YQLChallenge, it’s easy to do! Visit our website at www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available) to sign up, check out the list of activities, and get active! To keep you on track, you can pick up a passport at our office, the Lethbridge Public Library, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, or a few more places listed on the website. In 2017, we want you to get active with us!
- Tanya Whipple
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald April 21st, 2017