Let’s Get Outside! & Track Our Progress

NEW! The September Tracker is now available for download (scroll down to find it).

Did you know that children between the ages of 3 – 18 spend on average 246 minutes a day in front of screens?* That’s 4.1 hours, or roughly a quarter of all waking hours!

In response to alarming statistics such as these, one couple decided to intentionally prioritize outdoor time with their children. Their research and now first-hand experience convinced them that time outside provides a variety of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, including:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety: It lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which reduces anxiety and depression
  • Better sleep: Exposure to natural light and fresh air regulates the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to better sleep
  • Improved physical health: It provides opportunities for exercise and exposure to sunlight, boosting vitamin D production, which strengthens bones and muscles
  • Improved mood: It increases feelings of happiness and improves one’s mood

This couple’s intentional living catalysed a global movement, inspiring people of all ages to prioritize time outside. At ELIM, we’re inspired too. Did you know that spending just 20 minutes in an evergreen forest can increase your immune system response by up to 54%?** There are so many creative (and also simple) ways to enjoy being outside, and so many benefits. For this reason, we’ve launched the ELIM-wide initiative Let’s Get Outside! & Track Our Progress.

To help us on our outdoor journey, meet Timeothy (time-othy). He’ll inspire fresh ideas each month on how to spend time outside.

Timeothy - the mascot of the Elim Village initiative Let's Get Outside & Track Our Progress!

We’re excited for this community initiative, which is not about exercising, but about being in and being connected to nature. Join us and reap the benefits! Here’s the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the challenge:

Who, What, Where, When, Why, How

WHO: You! All ELIM residents (both sites!), staff, family members, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends of our communities are welcome to participate.

WHAT: Let’s Get Outside! & Track Our Progress

WHERE: Anywhere outside. Sit on your balcony, garden, read a book outside, etc. (See the current month’s Tracker, below, for more ideas!)

WHEN: The challenge is for five months, starting May 1st and ending September 30th. Do the entire five-month challenge, or join midway through.

WHY: Honestly, the benefits are innumerable. Basically, we want to challenge you to create a habit and improve your health by getting outside! And what better time to do it than in the glorious light of spring and summer!

HOW: A new Tracker is available for download each month of the challenge. Use the Tracker for accountability and to log your time spent outside. Do the challenge solo, or buddy up with a friend. Set a target for yourself—whether it’s 30 minutes or an hour, everyday or every-other day. The amount of time you spend outside is totally up to you!


Click the image below to download the September Tracker.

September Tracker

Timeothy Tuesdays

Each Tuesday, Timeothy will be located somewhere outside on our Fleetwood campus. He might be reading under a tree, relaxing in the garden, or soaking up the sun. You’re invited to come search for him, which is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature! Timeothy is pictured below together with creator Rachel Hoffos, staff member.

If you have Instagram or Facebook, feel free to take a picture with Timeothy, and use the hashtag #TimeothyTuesdays. We’d love to see your photos!

Timeothy, mascot of the Get Outside & Track Your Progress! initiative, together with creator Rachel Hoffos

*Madigan S, Eirich R, Pador P, McArthur BA, Neville RD. Assessment of Changes in Child and Adolescent Screen Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176(12):1188–1198. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.4116

**Chae, Y.; Lee, S.; Jo, Y.; Kang, S.; Park, S.; Kang, H. The Effects of Forest Therapy on Immune Function. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8440. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168440