While following TV shows like Lost (yes, I am in love with Sawyer) over 6 seasons and staying up late to watch playoff basketball seems like the obvious best choice for weeknights, watching TV appears to have taken over as Americans’ #1 past time.  While I always knew that watching TV wasn’t exactly healthy, a myriad of studies suggest that the more you watch, the more likely you are to develop a host of health problems and die at an earlier age. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an eye opening study this week that made me question if I really should have hung in there for the 121 episodes learning about “the others,” spending 94 hours glued to the TV.  Researchers concluded that for every additional two hours people spend glued to the tube on a typical day, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 20% and their risk of heart disease increases by 15%. 

Sure I instinctively knew that too much TV is not a good idea, but are Americans aware that the increase risk of disease tied to TV watching is similar to those associated with high cholesterol or high blood pressure or smoking?  Across the globe, people spend more time engaged in this pastime than in any other activity except working and sleeping.  While smart phones, Ipads, and flat screens are certainly hard to resist, I refuse to be a couch potato and fall subject to a lousy statistic! 

While, Jeopardy, Seinfeld and Who’s Line is it Anyway will still be a part of my week (TV in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad thing now), I am ready to not only scale back on my couch time but get my nature on!  I am roping in family and friends to participate in Get Your Nature On by setting challenges and getting active and healthy.  NWF’s Nature Find makes it easy to find new areas to explore and by participating on facebook, I am able to compete with my friends while sharing photos.

In addition to the health benefits of avoiding my TV, there are all kinds of great mental, physical and emotional health benefits of spending time in nature.

The Get Your Nature On challenge is a project of OAK, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.  OAK is a national alliance working to reconnect children, youth and families with the outdoors for their health and the health of the planet.  OAK’s Get Your Nature On challenge supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.    

So join me and Get Your Nature On!  Let’s defy the average American sedentary statistic… I challenge you! 

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