A successful provincewide initiative to promote outdoor physical activity in natural settings to enhance mental health will be wrapping up October 31, 2013. The program is called Healthy Hikes and it’s a campaign developed by CMHA Ontario, Conservation Ontario, David Suzuki Foundation, the Ontario Trails Council and other organizations. Its purpose is to recognize the connection between natural settings and mental health benefits.
Evidence suggests that one of the best ways to improve mental wellbeing is by spending more time outdoors. Regular use of natural areas for physical activity can reduce mental health problems by half and result in:
- Better self-esteem, mood, attention and concentration;
- More energy and a greater sense of revitalization;
- Less tension, confusion, anger and depression.
For more information on how nature benefits mental health, visit the Healthy Hikes website.
The final month of the Healthy Hikes campaign includes Ontario Hiking Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 4). With many trails to choose from and the opportunity to discover amazing landscapes, hikers can take full advantage of naturalized areas and special programs created just for this one week. Read more about Ontario Hiking Week on the Hike Ontario website.
October is a great time for hiking. The beautiful Fall colours, the presence of wildlife and mild to moderate temperatures makes the experience enjoyable and refreshing for the mind. To get the most out of your Ontario hiking experience, check out Ontario government’s fall foliage tracking tool.