Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and for most people the game conjures up thoughts of funny advertisements, yummy snacks and (hopefully) a good football game. But TurfMutt wants to give a big high-paw to the NFL for its “Play 60″ fitness and health campaign that encourages young people to be active for at least 60 minutes per day. In support of this initiative here are a few ideas for keeping your family active, even on Super Bowl Sunday!
Ideas for being active on Super Bowl Sunday
- Before the game starts grab the dog and the entire family for a brisk walk around your neighborhood or to the park to get some fresh air and exercise before kickoff.
- In honor of the “Seahawks” and the “Broncos” go on a wildlife scavenger hunt in your neighborhood prior to the game. See how many different animals you can spot that would make good football team mascots.
- Pause the game during commercials to run a quick race in the front or back yard. Whoever wins gets the best seat in the house for the next series of plays.
- During halftime press pause again (so you don’t miss any of the halftime entertainment!) and play a fun, friendly family game of flag football outside. The winning team gets to be first in line for second-half snacks.
We want to see what you come up with! Share your Super Bowl Sunday activities with us on TurfMutt’s Facebook page. Need more ideas for fun family activities even after Super Bowl Sunday? Check out TurfMutt’s Family Activities Guide.
We talk a lot about getting the family outdoors to exercise, and in more and more cases “family” means multi generations living under one roof. A study that was recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular exercise can have a major impact on overall health, even in senior citizens who were previously inactive.
Photo courtesy of Wake Forest University.
The study tracked the health and exercise habits of more than 3,000 healthy seniors over the period of eight years. At the end of the study researchers found that seniors who remained active during the course of the study were more than seven times more likely to age healthily than those who remained inactive. Study participants who were inactive at the start of the study, but then started exercising during the eight year period, also improved their health.
Do you need a few ideas to get the whole family moving together? Check out TurfMutt’s Family Activities Guide for some suggestions, and check out TurfMutt’s Facebook page for other ideas.
Could biodiversity be the key to good health? A study out of Finland suggests exposure to biodiversity, especially in the form of bacteria and microbes, may be the key to preventing allergies and weakened immune systems, which lead to sickness like asthma, Chrohn’s disease and even perhaps the seasonal flu.
Photo courtesy of Home Science Tools.
The study compared the allergies of young people living in houses surrounded by biodiversity to those of adolescents living in more urban settings of cement and grass. Those living in the more biodiverse areas were found to be covered with different kinds of microbes. They were also less likely to show signs of allergies.
The research suggests that those connected with nature were more protected against allergies and illness because their immune systems were more fully developed.
So what are you doing staring at the screen? Boost your immune system – go connect with nature! Need some ideas on how to get your family outdoors? Check out TurfMutt’s Family Activities Guide.
Salt is often used to melt ice and snow pack during the winter months. However, salt can damage vegetation by drawing water away from the roots, it pollutes water supplies, and can be hard on car finishes. All-in-all, it’s not the most eco-friendly solution.
Ice melt options
So what are your options? Here are a few to consider.
- Kitty litter. Non-clumping kitty litter doesn’t actually melt the ice, but it can provide much-needed traction until you can shovel or the sun comes out to melt the mess.
- Coffee grinds. Instead of tossing your morning grinds onto the compost pile, consider using them on your ice patches. Since coffee grinds are dark they absorb more of the sun’s rays, speeding the melting process, and providing some much-needed traction in the meantime.
- Sand. Much like coffee grinds, sand will make things less slippery while the sun’s rays work their magic.
If you end up needing to use a deicer, don’t forget our tips on how to properly protect your plants.
Do you have a favorite environmentally friendly ice melt trick? Share your ideas in the comment section, or on TurfMutt’s Facebook page.
Snow and ice removal go hand-in-hand with winter weather. Often homeowners are most concerned about removing the snow and ice quickly. But don’t forget to take a few minutes to prep and protect your plants prior first.
How you shovel can impact the health of your plants and trees.
Here are a few important reminders from our partner PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, which is the national trade association of landscape professionals.
- Mark your plants. Place reflective markers next to plants so they are easy to see. That way snow won’t be shoveled on top of the plants inadvertently. Also, consider clearing away from walks and driveways to reduce the amount of deicing products needed on hard surfaces.
- Remove broken limbs ASAP. As soon as the weather permits remove broken branches to allow the plant or tree to heal better as temperatures warm up.
- Never shake branches. Gently brush snow off limbs rather than shaking them, as they might break. Use your hands to scoop the snow away from plant roots to protect them from settling snow.
- Minimize salt damage. Salt helps melt ice off hard surfaces, but it can damage plants by drawing water away from the roots. Remove excess salt by flushing the soil with plenty of water.
Snow, ice, wind and other winter weather is upon us, like it or not! We’ve shared how to protect your kids and pets from harsh winter conditions. Now we turn our attention to your plantlife, thanks to tips from our friends at PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network.
Learn tips for protecting plants from winter weather.
Cover plants, trees and evergreens. Antitranspirant sprays help reduce water loss, but burlap wrapping may also be used to shield valuable evergreens from salt spray and winter winds.
Watch out for winter warm spells. If you’ve covered your plants with burlap or another type of material, you’ll want to uncover them or ventilate them during warm days, then recover them at night when temps take a nosedive again.
Prune. Pruning in late winter, before spring growth starts, leaves pruning wounds exposed for only a short time before plants bloom again.
Next time we’ll discuss how to protect your plants from salt, ice and snow removal.
The cold snap isn’t just tough on humans, it’s also hard on four-legged members of the family. Here are some tips from the Humane Society on how to keep your pets safe when the mercury drops.
Tips for keeping pets safe during cold weather.
- Pets are most comfortable and happy when they are inside with you. If it’s too cold for you to be outside; it’s too cold for your pet to be outside.
- Give your pets plenty of water, especially if they’ve been outside for exercise. Keeping warm depletes energy.
- Protect your pet’s paws from salt, which can irritate his or her pads. Wipe them down with a damp towel.
TurfMutt’s favorite winter spot is curled right up next to his favorite humans! Do you have cuddly pet photos to share? Post them to TurfMutt’s Facebook page.
The temperatures have dipped to the dangerous zone in many parts of the country. Here are a few tips for keeping your kids safe when they have to go outside during extremely cold weather.
If your children must go outside in the cold weather, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.
- The best advice is to stay inside, but if you must go outside, wear as many loose-fitting layers as possible. Air is trapped between the layers, which keeps you warmer.
- Cover as much skin as possible to prevent frostbite.
- If clothes get wet, go inside immediately and change into warm, dry clothing as quickly as possible.
Later this week we’ll share TurfMutt’s tips on how to keep your pets safe during cold weather snaps. Do you have any cold weather tips or photos to share on TurfMutt’s Facebook page?
Here’s an idea for something you can do with your kids this winter: build a backyard birdhouse to help feathered friends find shelter from the cold weather!
Photo courtesy of surfbirds.com
The National Wildlife Federation recently wrote an article about how to build a cozy birdhouse for winter. We’ve included some highlights below, but you can read the full article here.
- Choose the right roost box. There are many options, depending on the type of bird you are trying to attract.
- Choose the right height for the box. Most birds feel safer, higher.
- Protect the box from predators. Mounting it on a metal pole is one idea to keep animals who hunt birds from being able to climb up to the roost.
Preparing a space in your backyard for winter bird watching is a fun family activity that can help keep your children interested in the outdoors, even when the temperatures plummet.
Have you created a backyard birdhouse you’d like to share with us on TurfMutt’s Facebook page?
TurfMutt has a challenge for kids across the country, and there’s no better time than during “New Year’s resolution season” to accept the mission.
Join TurfMutt in his mission to make 2014 the greenest year yet!
TurfMutt needs your help to fight environmental villains and save the green spaces in your backyard. Download TurfMutt’s Student Activities Guide and complete the activity sheets. Then, fill out and sign the “Mission Plan” on page 6. It’s where you can make a promise to do all you can to save the green spaces in your backyard, and to specify just how you’ll do this (TurfMutt has lots of ideas for you!). Throughout the year share your progress with us on TurfMutt’s Facebook page.
Join TurfMutt in his quest to make 2014 the greenest year yet!