8 ways paddling can improve your health

Just when we thought nothing could top the “good for you” news about chocolate…

…research shows that paddling is good not only for our physical health, but for our mental health as well!

Here are some of the benefits that will have you reaching for your paddle:

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Pick green time over screen time

Screens are everywhere. Cell phones, Netflix, and video games can be distractions that keep us inside. It’s easy to spend hours chilling in front of your phone or TV.

These are hours we could be spending being physically active in the outdoors. Excessive screen time has negative impacts on our health, and this is especially concerning when it comes to children. Outdoor physical activity is crucial for healthy development.

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Learning in the forest at MacGregor Point

When you think back to your childhood, what are some of your best memories?

Likely a lot of them involved playing and exploring in the outdoors.

Unfortunately, many children today don’t get this opportunity. Kids are often kept indoors by electronics and other distractions. They miss out on the developmental benefits of outdoor play.

This is where forest school comes in. Forest school combines nature with education for the ultimate outdoor learning experience.

Since September 2017, MacGregor Point Provincial Park has hosted Saugeen Shores Forest School, the first forest school in an Ontario provincial park.

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Finding our place in the wild

Today’s post comes from Heather Greenwood Davis, a travel writer and new camper. 

We forgot the kettle. For real campers, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Real campers would know how to build a fire; real campers would’ve thought to bring a pot.

But I’m not a real camper and I am a coffee lover, so this could’ve been a problem.

Luckily, I know enough about my strengths and weaknesses to have arranged to spend this camping experience in one of the roofed accommodations at Bonnechere Provincial Park. The perfect step between tent camping and a cottage stay, our log cabin offers the warmth and security of a roof and four walls, but only a few of the modern conveniences we’re used to.

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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. Let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health.

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Waldeinsamkeit: solitude in the forest

Picture this: you’re alone, deep into a forested trail. Your only companions are the birds fluttering from branch to branch around you. As you walk, you follow a corridor made of pillars of ancient trees, and smell the earthy aroma of moss and damp leaves.

How do you feel? It’s hard to describe, but the words which immediately come to mind are calm, peaceful, and contemplative. You feel a deep-rooted connection to the world around you, and you are reminded of the importance of our natural environment.

There’s a word for that feeling: waldeinsamkeit.

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Let’s go plogging!

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

As the snow melts in the spring, you can often spot leftover trash along our roads, sidewalks, and trails.

How many times have you walked past this trash while out for a walk, run, or jog? Did you pick it up, or leave it on the ground?

A new environmentally friendly workout trend is encouraging you to stop and pick up litter during your outdoor exercises.

It’s called plogging, and it’s an amazing way to keep our environment and our bodies healthy at the same time.

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Five outdoor activities to improve your health

Who needs a gym membership when you have the outdoors?

Outdoor exercise has a stronger effect on blood pressure and mood than indoor exercise. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity.

To put it simply, time spent outside is good for you! On World Health Day, let’s take a look at a few fun outdoor activities that can improve your health.

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Healing in the forest: a guide to forest bathing

Happy International Day of Forests!

Let’s take a walk in the woods.

With no specific destination in mind, we will wander, observe and immerse ourselves in nature. Allow our senses to guide us.

When was the last time you walked into the woods with no plans? No final destination? Without a species to ID, hill to climb, or lookout to conquer?

This is exactly the experience offered by a forest bathing session.

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Health benefits of backcountry camping

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

Backcountry camping is known for being a way to experience beautiful, serene landscapes. But a backcountry trip also provides an opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally.

The combination of paddling, portaging, and hiking through the backcountry is a great all-over workout. Plus, you will experience a ton of health benefits simply by being outdoors.

Hit the backcountry for a killer total-body workout this summer. Let’s do this!

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