We are bombarded by ads of miracle products that can cure us of almost every known human malady.  These come in the form of beauty creams, supplements, work out and work out equipment, and even foods.  Yet, there is one simple (and free) healthy product that is available to everyone…all the time.  It is the healing power called…nature.

While I was fortunate to grow up with the outdoors close at hand, the average American boy or girl today spends only four to seven minutes in unstructured outdoorplay each day, and as is well known, more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.  The results are heartbreaking for our children as childhood obesity rates have more than doubled the last 20 years and the U.S. has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world, while pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen precipitously.

Our kids are turned out and stressed out, because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: connection to the natural world.

The following are just a sampling of peer-reviewed, statistically significant research results from the likes of the federal Center for Disease Control and a variety of universities:

*Children stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.

* Play protects children’s emotional development whereas loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle can contribute to anxiety and depression.

*Nature actually makes one nicer!, enhancing social interactions, value for community and close relationships.

*Being outdoors improves distance vision and lowers the chance of nearsightedness.

*Spending time outside raises levels of vitamin D, helping protect children from future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.

*Schools with environmental education programs score higher on standardized tests in math, reading, writing, and science.

And one more, for adults:  86% of “stressed out women” said their mood improves when spending time outdoors in nature. ~

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