First Day Hike destinations

New Year’s Day is coming up fast — have you picked out a park for your First Day Hike?

This 10-park list rounds up some top options for your first foray into 2020:

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Why it’s important for children to play outside in winter

Every winter, as the temperatures drop, so does the amount of time we spend outside. This is especially true for children — playtime can become limited to the indoors.

It may be tempting to hide inside until the weather warms up, but outdoor play is essential for your children’s well-being all year long.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should get our kids outside and active this winter:

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Health benefits of dark skies

Today’s blog comes from our Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator Sarah McMichael. 

My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.

It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.

A LOT of stars.

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5 ways to stay active in the cold

Brrr! Temperatures are dropping, and winter’s icy grip is almost upon us.

We bet you’re feeling just about ready to tuck into a nice, long winter’s hibernation. Not so fast! Outdoor activity is important for our mental and physical health all year long. Getting outside is good for you even when the weather is not ideal.

Ontario Parks has 31 parks open in the winter. Each park offers plenty of ways for you to get active in the chilly months.

Here are some great ways to stay healthy, and enjoy winter!

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Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focused after spending time in nature? That’s because time outside has studied and proven benefits for your mental health.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in any given year. For Mental Health Week, let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health.

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The restorative health benefits of protected areas

Today’s blog post comes from Catherine Reining, a graduate in the Master of Environment Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier University.

We know spending time in nature offers a ton of health benefits like reduced stress, better sleep, and lower blood pressure.

But what is the role of parks and protected areas in human health?

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6 health benefits of cycling

If you’ve ever pedalled up a hill before, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that cycling is great for working the lower body, but did you know the health benefits reach far beyond your quads and hamstrings?

Check out these brain and body benefits of cycling:

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30 ways to get outside this August 

30 minutes in nature for 30 days straight. Are you up for the 30×30 Challenge?

Ontario Parks is challenging you to spend the month of August out in nature. Being in nature has a wide range of benefits to our physical and mental health. Spending quality time in nature is an opportunity to connect with your loved ones and Ontario’s beautiful natural environment.

By accepting the 30×30 challenge, you are committing to a healthy lifestyle in the outdoors!
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Listening to nature’s music

Today’s post comes from Kyra Santin, a Natural Heritage Education and Marketing Student from our Northwest Zone. 

George Santayana — poet, philosopher and naturalist — said, “The Earth has music for those who listen.”

The earth holds a lot of beauty within it. If we open our eyes and ears, and listen to the world that surrounds us, we can truly appreciate the music the earth is making.

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