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For Health's Sake, Kids (and Adults) Need to 'Go Outdoors'

Springfield, Missouri—(April 29, 2009)—Once upon a time, not so long ago, kids went outside to play. Many a fort and treehouse were built, favorite swimming holes were enjoyed, and stringers of fish meant campfires and fish fries. Kids got bumped, scraped, bruised, stung, bit and sunburned. But, they got exercise and learned about the outdoors—how to fish, pitch a tent, make a campfire, identify which plants (and snakes) are poisonous and count the stars at night. It was the real world.

Today, kids don’t walk to school or anywhere else much for that matter. They and adults are inside spending countless hours in front of hand-held monitors or TV screens playing video games. They get caught in the artificial worlds of watching television shows, chatting on the Internet and text messaging. And, studies show that living in the daily urban world with all its distractions, stimuli, and confusion can seriously impair cognitive thinking and mental health in general. Bottom line, kids and adults are not getting enough time outdoors.

During the National Go Outdoors Event going on at 51 Bass Pro Shops store locations from May 16th through May 25th, the company is offering kids and adults all kinds of ways to get off their couches and go enjoy the great outdoors. Events include a life jacket trade-in, outdoor skill demonstrations, interactive activities and a chance to win a sweepstakes package with a retail value of approximately $11,000.00.

“One of the most exciting and invigorating places to go this summer is just beyond your front door,” said Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops Manager of Communications. “Bass Pro Shops is committed to helping adults and children across the nation put away their laptops, video games, and cell phones this summer and head outdoors. Whether it’s fishing, hiking through a local park, or simply laying on your lawn watching the stars at night, there are so many great things to do outdoors this summer.”

Why is this important?

Bass Pro Shops’ National Go Outdoors Event is a way to give kids (and adults) the chance to learn about the outdoors and the reason why is simple. Kids need this chance to re-connect with the outdoors to learn valuable lessons —how to swim, how to camp, first aid, survival techniques, orienteering, conservation—but more importantly, to become good stewards of the land and its natural resources, to feel good about themselves and to improve their general health and well-being.

Likewise, adults need this ‘disconnect’ from their everyday urban life. An article that appeared in the Boston Globe January 2, 2009, cites studies scientists are conducting to examine how urban life affects the brain and our mental health. "The mind is a limited machine,"says Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of a new study that measured the cognitive deficits caused by a short urban walk. "And we're beginning to understand the different ways that a city can exceed those limitations." The article goes on to state that “natural settings are full of objects that automatically capture our attention, yet without triggering a negative emotional response -- unlike, say, a backfiring car. The mental machinery that directs attention can relax deeply, replenishing itself.”
(Read entire article at: http://www.childrenandnature.org/news/detail/nature_essential_for_the_brain_scientists_report/

Listed below are some supporting facts and figures:
• Long-term health concerns among children are increasing. According to information from the US Fish and Wildlife Web site (www.fws.gov), Americans, kids especially, spend less time playing outdoors than any preceding generation.
• Kids spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with television, computers and video games and are six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike.
• In fact, of all the major recreational activities in 2006, bicycling suffered the worst in declining participant numbers (down 13.3% from last year) according to an annual report by the National Sporting Goods Association. (“Sports Participation Series I and II”)
• Stress, depression, obesity, and low self-esteem among children are on the rise.


Why is going outside good?
• According to information from the US Fish and Wildlife site, nature is good for your health. New research shows that children who feel connected to nature have better physical, mental, and emotional health. Berman’s study, as cited in the January 2nd article in the Boston Globe, states that, according to several studies, “children with attention-deficit disorder have fewer symptoms in natural settings. When surrounded by trees and animals, they are less likely to have behavioral problems and are better able to focus on a particular task.”
• Other various studies have shown that kids that engage in outdoor classrooms have improved grades and test scores.
• These same studies show that kids involved in the outdoors are more motivated to learn and achieve.
• Studies suggest that families that interact together outdoors create lasting bonds by making life-long memories.

As you look forward to this summer and begin to wonder what you will do with the kids while they are out of school, investigate summer programs that your local Park Board, YMCA, or Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts offer that will help them benefit from being outside. In the meantime, begin with Bass Pro Shops’ National Go Outdoors Event at your local Bass Pro Shops store location. Exciting events being offered to entice kids and adults to go outdoors include canoe and kayak demonstrations, casting contests, rock climbing walls, GPS classes, outdoor skills workshops on boating safety, Dutch oven cooking, outdoor survival training and much, much more. (Events will vary per store. Please visit www.basspro.com/gooutdoors and select individual store location for events listing.)

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary will be on hand at most Bass Pro Shops store locations to answer questions on the proper fit of life jackets as well as to address water safety questions. You can even bring any old or non-fitting life jackets into your local Bass Pro Shops on Saturday and Sunday, May 16th and 17th, for recycling and receive an instant discount of $5 to $20 off the purchase of a new Bass Pro Shops or Stearns life jacket or SOSPENDERS® inflatable PFD.

While at Bass Pro Shops, register to win the “Experience the Great Outdoors Sweepstakes.” The National Grand Prize will be awarded to one winner nationwide and has a retail value of approximately $11,000.00. Each store location will select a first place winner who will receive a gift package with a retail value of $550.00. See store for more details.

This year, commit to getting outdoors with your kids for all your health’s sake. Visit Bass Pro Shops during the National Go Outdoors Event, interact with your family in the great outdoors and make some memories to last a lifetime.

About Bass Pro Shops

A major catalog and Internet retailer, Bass Pro Shops, headquartered in Springfield, MO, currently has 55 retail locations across the United States and Canada. The stores attract some 100 million visitors a year. In addition, Bass Pro Shops also provides products and services for thousands of independent dealers world wide through its subsidiary company, American Rod & Gun. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com.

 
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