February 1st

Over the last year we’ve all developed an even greater appreciation for our family yards as we used our own personal patches of nature to get away from our screens and connect with one another and nature. Dogs like Mo-Mo – whose favorite place is the family yard – have known it all along: there are many reasons to love our living landscapes. Here are just a few.

Reconnecting and recharging outdoor is safe. Unplugging from your computer, smartphone and television can be accomplished by simply going outside. Epidemiologists agree outside is still the safest place to gather (socially distanced, of course). Add a patio heater or fire pit to your backyard to make it even cozier when it’s cold.

Memories improve. Feeling a little foggy? Take some time to get outside. Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed walking in a natural setting versus an urban one improved recall ability by nearly 20 percent.

Outdoor time boosts moods. Exposure to natural light raises levels of serotonin, the body’s “happy chemical.” Sunlight is also a good way to get a natural dose of vitamin D, which is good for your bones and immune system. The best news of all? You only have to step outside your own door to reap these benefits.

Activity elevates immunity. According to MedlinePlus, exercise helps decrease your risk for heart disease, maintains bone health and can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.

It doesn’t take long to reap nature’s benefits. A study from the University of Michigan concluded that spending just 20 minutes in a natural setting reduces the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.

One last note. Taking care of your yard in the winter is a good way to log some time outside, and it helps prepare your living landscape for spring. If you’re using a snow thrower, chainsaw or other outdoor power equipment to do some of the heavy lifting this year, read the owner’s manual first and abide by all safety precautions.

LOVE sign in green grass

To learn more, go to TurfMutt.com.