Ontario Launches Challenge to Spend More Time in Nature
Time Spent in Natural Settings Has Positive Impact on Mental and Physical HealthJuly 25, 2016 11:00 A.M.
The Ontario government and Ontario Parks are challenging people across the province to spend more time in nature and develop new healthy habits.
Inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation's 30x30 Challenge, the Ontario Parks 30x30 Nature Challenge encourages people to spend at least 30 minutes per day in nature for 30 days. This year's challenge begins in August.
Spending time outside each day will help to form a beneficial new habit that supports a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that interacting with nature is good for both physical and mental health, from reducing stress and strengthening the immune system to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer and lowering blood pressure.
The 30x30 Nature Challenge doesn't have to take a lot of time and planning. Nature isn't that far away - there are provincial parks all across Ontario. But it's also right in your backyard. Green space can be as close as your neighbourhood park or garden. You can check out local trails and beaches, too - they may even lie along your daily route.
If you're looking for a change of scenery, the Ontario Parks locator tool makes it easy to find a provincial park nearby. Enjoy hiking, biking, paddling and lots of outdoor programmes.
Here are just some of the ways you can get outside for the 30x30 Challenge this August:
- Bring your family to the Learn to Fish event at Balsam Lake.
- Perfect your howl at Algonquin's wolf howls.
- Take a guided ghost walk at Bronte Creek.
- Learn some kayak basics at Frontenac.
- Become a citizen scientist by participating in the Summer Loon Count at Killarney.
- Go stargazing at Halfway Lake's Star Party, hosted by the Sudbury Astronomy Club.
Finding more time for nature is easy and it can really pay off when it comes to your health!
- There are more than 330 provincial parks in Ontario, perfect for fun and healthy activities.
- Ontario Parks supports the link between a healthy environment and healthy society through Healthy Parks, Healthy People and the 30x30 Challenge.
- The Healthy Parks Healthy People movement evolved from the international Health Parks, Healthy People Congress in 2010. Its goal is to maintain global momentum towards better understanding the links between nature and human health.
- In 2015, Ontario’s provincial parks received more than 9.8 million visits from people around the world and brought in over $80 million in revenue, which supports jobs and businesses across the province.
“Spending time in one of Ontario’s beautiful provincial parks is a wonderful way to connect with nature and stay healthy. But there are also many natural settings in your own neighbourhood. I encourage all Ontarians to get out to any natural setting and to take up the 30x30 Nature challenge.”