Well you don't get it by eating fruits and veggies or drinking milk. It doesn't come from red meat or black beans. It's not contained in your multivitamin or superfood shake.
Vitamin N you can only get by going outside, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and heading to the hills where the birds and squirrels hang out. Vitamin N stands for "Nature". And getting a lot of vitamin N is the only way to prevent NDD: Nature Deficit Disorder.
For children, outdoor play is less frequent and lengthy than at any other time in American history. Increased screen time (6-9 hours per day for most kids) is a big contributing factor in childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues not to mention poor posture, inflexibility, and lack of strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Go to a park or playground. Make your kids put down their electronics and take them to the park. They might complain at first, but will quickly starting playing and having fun. Follow them - play tag, climb the jungle gym, do the monkey bars, go down the slide, do the swings.
- Go for a family walk after dinner. Digestion (and elimination) is aided by movement and a walk in the evening after dinner is so much better for you than sitting on the couch watching TV or social media on your phone.
- Play basketball or soccer in the back yard or throw a football or frisbee in the front yard together.
- Try a new hiking trail. In Portland we are lucky to have more than 80 miles of dirt trails in Forest Park right in the middle of the city along with hundreds of miles of trails a short drive away in the Columbia River Gorge.
- Plant a garden. Not only will having a garden get you outside enjoying nature, but you'll get exercise and studies show gardening is very stress relieving.
- Ride bikes together. Bike rides with family or friends is fun and an easy way to get outside in nature. Ride your favorite trail, around your neighborhood, or to your favorite coffee shop. Also use this cycling warm-up and cool-down.
- When you can't get outside, make sure to bring nature inside. Fill your house or office with potted plants and cut flowers to give you the stress relieving benefits of nature even when you're inside. Many plants improve air quality too.
- Plan an outdoor adventure vacation. Go to one of the 58 National Parks or over 6000 state parks in the US. There are so many amazing places to go, things to see, and activities to do outside in nature.
- Go for a run outside instead of doing cardio inside. Why sweat in a gym when you could run outside in the fresh air? Here's a running warm-up for you.
- Workout outside. Yes even strength workouts can be done outside almost anywhere, and you don't need weights. Try these workouts for ideas: cardio-core workout, power plyometric workout, & strong and lean workout.