In 2010, our five-year-old daughter, Lily, was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Whenever Lily was released from the hospital, and the weather cooperated, we headed outside. We really started to depend on these adventures, these outdoor excursions, to get us through the bad days and help Lily along her road to recovery. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28 per cent in children. Health benefits of nature may include reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy and immunity, decreased stress and improved mental health.
When I discovered the German word Waldensemkite -- the feeling of peace that one gets when being alone in the woods -- it made me wonder how real are these experiences? Did this invisible forest mist have an impact on me? As a scientist, I relish the experiment. So for one week, I would spend at least five minutes maximizing the human/tree interface, i.e. tree hugging.
A really good deck doesn't stop at the luxuriant lumber from which it is constructed. To bring any deck (patio or terrace) alive it needs subsequent "layers." In precisely the same manner in which décor and accessories will alternate interior "beat," so too can visual and physical tricks make your exterior scheme look "considered."
As spring finally heats up in the east, I'm reminded of all the reasons why I get outside and like to go wild and immerse myself in nature. Of course, exercise is important (for me and my dog Jimmy) and it's nice to clear my mind, but as I do it, it reminds me why protecting nature is an important daily responsibility.
Has all that outdoor fun left you spent? Maybe you're just sick of layers, static, and space heaters. Beat the winter blues at this Old Chelsea oasis. It's the biggest spa in North America! While they do offer indoor services such as massage and body treatments, the full experience includes taking a dip in the outdoor baths and warming up in seven different saunas.
Being outdoors and enjoying nature is one of the happiest parts of my life. Cross country skiing is in that category of happy experiences. In fact, it is probably at the very top of the list. It is an amazing way to be outside, get some fresh air and make friends. Best of all it is really easy to learn.
Living on the west coast where it is rainy, chilly and dark, it is essential to have a stylish looking fleece that will keep me warm, breath when I am active outdoors and also take me around town. Recently I spoke with Renata Mannino, the Product Line Manager for Arc'teryx. Renata shared with me the current trends for fall fleece and how fleece materials have improved.
We've all heard that mold in the home is extremely hazardous to our health, but did you know that mold occurs outdoors as well? Our gardens and backyards are actually a great breeding space for molds that are inhaled via mold spores. Our immune systems deal with these mold spores just like an allergy, with watery eyes, sneezing and congestion.
Whether you're heading out on a multi-day canoe trip deep into the wilderness, or planning a day hike, having basic knowledge of wilderness safety, first aid and essential gear can be the difference between life and death should you get lost or injured. Here's a list of essential skills and tools needed for your next wilderness adventure.
I hate weeding. Pretty vocal about this one. I REALLY hate weeding. My secret to avoid weeding all summer is newspaper! We've all heard about using mulch in a garden around the plants to prevent weed growth, and it does work...some of the time. I learned a simple technique of lining the beds with 7 layers of newspaper and then adding mulch on top of it.
Fall is on our doorsteps, and while you may consider the falling temperatures an excuse to stay inside, it's time to take advantage of those last rays of sunshine. You have no excuse to be on the couch this weekend, but if you're still feeling unmotivated to leave, here are 10 reasons why you should get out of the house.
I belong in the city: sidewalks to keep my shoes clean, garbage receptacles every few steps, women spraying me with concoctions on Bloor Street -- the city needs me. Algonquin Park does not need me, in fact I feel like it'd rather I not be over. But I discovered my patriotism not in fireworks or beaver tails, but in a paddle. Out in the water with trees all around me, watching my paddle slice in and out of the water, I got why people do this.