The Health Perks of Our National Parks

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Most Americans agree that spending time outdoors can enhance their physical and mental health. A recent online survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Humana among over 2,000 US adults, reveals that Americans believe spending time outdoors can reduce stress (75 percent), benefit mental well-being (74 percent) and lead to living a longer, healthier life (63 percent). The benefits of spending time in nature include elevated mood and happiness, as well as improved cardiovascular health, but work and other obligations often get in the way. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans will spen an average almost 93 percent of their lives in an indoor space. Humana’s partnership with the National Park’s Centennial celebration encourages everyone to enjoy America’s national parks as a resource to help stay healthy and active, and increase their Nature Engagement Levels, or N.E.L.s. N.E.Ls are a way to assess how much time you spend outside. A fun National Geographic Quiz, sponsored by Humana, shows participants their level of engagement with nature: Are you overflowing with flowing streams or running low on lowlands? Try these ideas to raise your N.E.L.s: Start with a Sunrise: Watching the sunrise can be a beautiful, moving, and healthy way to start your day; benefits include balanced circadian rhythms, improved mood, and increased Vitamin D levels. Bring Nature to Work: Enjoy the health benefits of the outdoors at work by placing a plant on your desk or setting a nature view as your desktop background. Host outdoor meetings, or “walk and talks,” around your building, and boost colleagues’ moods and focus, too. Engage Your Mind: Get your mental exercise by visiting museums or monuments within the National Park System. Sites such as the Thomas Edison National Historical Park offer guided tours and interactive experiences to entertain and educate visitors. Eat Outdoors: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of 8 hours and 13 minutes a week preparing and eating food. Move your meals outside to unplug and enjoy your food in a new environment. Try growing some of your own food. Getting your hands in dirt connects you to nature. If space is tight, explore a community garden. Take a Hike: Avid hikers report high levels of happiness, fulfillment, and connection with the world around them, and studies have shown that the color green increases motivation to engage in rigorous activity. So, if being outside on a spring day inspires you to hike, find a trail in a nearby state or national park! Find more ways to get healthy at www.StartWithHealthy.com, and visit www.FindYourPark.com to locate parks near you.

Local News

Nazareth players celebrate their Class 5A football title with fans and members of the band on Saturday. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Roadrunners win 45-44 shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Nazareth Academy’s football season opened in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season Saturday afternoon with a 45-44 Class 5A state championship win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. And in between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and a scramble just to make the playoffs.…

reporter EPCHS Inktober

EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober

A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…

reporter OLCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive Freshman Academy

OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success

OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…

regional palos park police cadet food drive 2022

Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…

Twins Aiden and Ethan Schilling at last year’s Bingo with Santa. (Photo by Alexandria Shipyor)

Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

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Nazareth players celebrate their Class 5A football title with fans and members of the band on Saturday. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Roadrunners win 45-44 shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Nazareth Academy’s football season opened in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season Saturday afternoon with a 45-44 Class 5A state championship win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. And in between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and a scramble just to make the playoffs.…

reporter EPCHS Inktober

EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober

A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…

reporter OLCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive Freshman Academy

OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success

OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…

regional palos park police cadet food drive 2022

Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…

Twins Aiden and Ethan Schilling at last year’s Bingo with Santa. (Photo by Alexandria Shipyor)

Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

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