For the second straight year, Healthy Hikes is back to help Ontarians maintain and improve their mental health with a dose of fresh air and green space. Healthy Hikes is an initiative by Conservation Ontario in partnership with CMHA Ontario and other organizations to get people to visit and become active in conservation areas around the province.
The Healthy Hikes campaign encourages Ontarians to walk or hike in nature and log their progress for points. Participants will have a chance to redeem points for great prizes. The program runs from May 1 – October 31, 2014.
The goal is to encourage people to use their outdoor experience to increase their understanding about the many connections between health and the environment. Not only is hiking a great way to stay physically fit; but recent research also points to the mental health benefits of exposure to natural settings or “green spaces.” Being active in nature can lead to:
- More energy and a greater sense of revitalization
- Less tension, confusion, anger, and depression
- Better self-esteem, mood, attention and concentration
- Less risk of mental health problems