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Everyday Outside

This week, Women's Health (in partnership with Men's Health) released their fifth-annual report on the country's "healthiest cities for women". The editors come to these rankings using a fairly wide array of data in 41 categories, including nutrition, cost of living, and cancer rates. Out of 100 cities, Portland, Maine was #10. Conversely, that means any given woman living here is more likely to be healthy than a randomly selected lady from, say, Louisville, Kentucky (#90 on the list.)

At about the same time these rankings were being sent to print, Portlander Erica Beck Spencer was completing her 357th day of spending at least a half hour outdoors, each day, rain or shine. "357 days of outdoor walks, camping, sailing, running, sledding, Nordic skiing, gardening, and sometimes just drinking wine on my back porch or eating lunch on the front steps," as she describes it on her blog that documents the fresh-air time. To celebrate the one-year mark, she ran a 5k and jumped in the ocean on December 31st (139 other people joined her, as part of the Natural Resource Council of Maine’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash).

This year, Erica is continuing her tradition and bringing her husband, two kids, and anyone else who wants to take the "365 Everyday Outside Challenge" along. Her blog also serves as inspiration for exploring the Portland area, regardless of season or weather.

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Pond-hockey players are stewards of the ice behind Deering High School. On Everyday Outside, Erica compares the experience of paying $20 to skate at the Zamboni-smoothed rink in Falmouth to walking out her front door to the local pond in her Portland neighborhood.

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