The Healthy Hikes challenge is back for a third straight year! Hosted by Conservation Ontario in partnership with CMHA Ontario and other organizations, the annual challenge invites Ontarians to visit and become active in the province’s nearly 300 Conservation Areas. Participants are encouraged to log their progress for points which they can redeem for great prizes. Conservation Ontario has updated the Healthy Hikes website for 2015, which provides users with access to health related resources that will help them understand the connections between a healthy environment, accessibility to green space, outdoor recreation, and their own health. The website also features an event listing page where Healthy Hikes events across the province will be posted.
Not only is hiking a great way to stay physically fit; but 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