Take 30: Get outside!

Take 30: Get outside!
David Suzuki Foundation

By: David Suzuki Foundation

This article was written by the David Suzuki Foundation in partnership with Live Right Now.

Live Right Now is teaming up with the David Suzuki Foundation to launch the 30x30 Nature Challenge! This May, we challenge all Canadians to get outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Sign up for the challenge here. Be sure to fill out the survey so we can measure the impact of the challenge. Visit LiveRightNow.ca every day to log your minutes and watch the minute counter bring our 30x30 tree to life!

With more than 80 per cent of Canadians now living in urban settings, many of us lack a meaningful, regular connection with the natural environment that sustains us.

» David Suzuki Foundation

Do you want to be happier, healthier and smarter? We have just the prescription for you: add a daily dose of nature to your routine.

Over the past decade, researchers from fields as diverse as biology, psychiatry, engineering, horticulture, neuroscience and medicine have realized what most of us know intuitively: nature is good for our health and well-being. These experts have discovered countless links between time spent outdoors and cognitive, physical and emotional development.

Studies suggest that enjoying a natural setting -- like a park, beach, wetland or forest -- can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and stress levels. Exposure to nature can help you sleep well and increase vigour and liveliness. It can even boost your immune system.

In their book, Your Brain on Nature, naturopath Alan Logan and Harvard physician Eva Selhub cite dozens of studies that demonstrate the health benefits of the natural world. They even refer to outdoor physical activity as "exercise squared" because it can increase energy and fitness levels while reducing fatigue, depression and obesity.

Melissa Lem, a family doctor and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, says exposure to nature is vitally important for kids. She suggests that time spent with flora and fauna is essential for healthy psychological and physical development in children. She points to studies that show daily doses of "green time" can be used to prevent and treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hypertension and diabetes. Ailments like myopia, asthma and depression have also been linked to inadequate nature exposure.

While this scientific body of evidence is fascinating and growing quickly, most of us remain unaware of the full range of health benefits that nature provides. And with more than 80 per cent of Canadians now living in urban settings, many of us lack a meaningful, regular connection with the natural environment that sustains us. Getting in touch with the outdoors has another great benefit: those who know and love nature work harder to protect it.

This is why the David Suzuki Foundation is launching the 30x30 Nature Challenge in partnership with CBC's Live Right Now. Starting May 1st, we're inviting Canadians to spend at least 30 minutes in nature each day for 30 days. By encouraging people to get a regular dose of fresh air, we hope to help participants take advantage of the many health benefits nature has to offer. They might even make it part of their continuing daily practice.

With the busy lives that many of us lead, taking time to get outside may seem difficult. But it's easier than you think. Green space is as close as your local park or backyard garden. Trails, ravines and community gardens are often a short distance from the daily grind. And birds, bees and other critters are usually nearby; you just have to take time to slow down, breathe, watch and listen.

Are you curious about how you can get your daily dose of nature? Live Right Now is going to feature one challenge every day. So come early and come often!

What ways do you like to spend time outdoors? Share your ideas and pictures on our Facebook page!

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