Getting dirty is good for you and your kids! The Health Benefits of Your Outdoor Living Space.

While much of the country is experiencing winter weather, when spring returns with warmer temperatures, children, their families and pets will be excited to spend time outdoors enjoying green spaces in their communities, backyards and other natural green areas.

Did you know…

1. Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces. Knowing and experiencing nature makes us generally happier, healthier people.
2. Getting dirty is good for you! Mycobacterium vaccae in soil mirrors the effect on neurons that Prozac provides. People who spend time gardening and have direct contact with soil feel more relaxed and happier. This spring give your kids a pair of gardening gloves and have them work with you in your green spaces.
3. Living near living landscapes improves mental health. Research found that people moving to greener areas experiences an immediate improvement in mental health.
4. Children gain attention and working memory benefits when they are exposed to greenery. Exposure to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children.
5. Walking or running in nature, rather than a concrete-oriented, urban environment, resulted in decreased anxiety, rumination and negative affect, and produced cognitive benefits and increased working memory performance. Grass can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil thanks to the process called evapotranspiration.
6. Living landscapes help kids and pets be healthier. Playing outdoors increases fitness levels and builds healthy, active bodies.
7. Your lawn produces lots of oxygen– 50 square feet of lawn generates enough oxygen each day for a family of four – and reduces the code red effect since grass removes pollutants from the air we breathe.

For more tips on maintaining a living landscape, even in drought conditions, please visit www.opei.org/stewardship.

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