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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Exploring the Great Trail in northwestern Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Michelle Halstead, a travel, tourism and eco-adventure placement student with Ontario Parks Northwest Zone.

Canada is proud to be the home of the greatest recreational trail in the world. A 24,000 km trail of land and water that stretches across 10 provinces and three territories.

The Great Trail (formally known as the Trans Canada Trail or TCT) is a project that started in 1992 and with the help of various donors and volunteers working together across the nation has become one of the greatest trails in the world. The trail offers a variety of outdoor recreation activities and scenery throughout Canada’s urban, rural and wilderness areas.

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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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Backcountry for beginners: the best destinations

When executed safely, your first backcountry trip forges lifelong memories, opening an immersive getaway into nature.

But the leap from car camping to backcountry requires preparation and learning. New paddlers and hikers can find themselves in serious trouble if they overestimate their skills or choose a too-challenging route.

Here are some recommended trips for backcountry beginners:

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Destination Temagami

Surrounded by shining waters and cloaked in towering pines, Finlayson Point Provincial Park lies just south of the Village of Temagami.

Sharing a shoreline with the Lake Temagami Skyline Preserve, a protected ring of pine forest that surrounds the lake, Finlayson Point provides visitors with access to Temagami — a treasured part of Ontario that many travellers see only a glimpse of as they head north or south along the highway.

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How to have a safe winter hike

During the snowy season, parks can feel like our own personal winter wonderlands. Meandering through snow-covered trails and frozen forests can make an awesome day in the outdoors.

Here’s here how to have a fun and safe time on your frosty foray:

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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 26 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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Fall vistas of Ontario’s northeast

Ah, fall…the weather has cools down, the bugs are gone, and our parks turn into a kaleidoscope of stunning reds, oranges, and yellows.

If you’re a lover of fall hiking, northeastern Ontario is the place to be. The combination of rugged Canadian Shield and spectacular fall colours makes hiking in northeastern Ontario a bucket list item.

Our parks are home to some amazing must-see vistas that are illuminated each year by autumn’s changing leaves. Here are a few of our favourites.

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Restoule: a fall colours paradise

When we hear the words “fall colours,” our minds often jump to Algonquin. Trouble is, Algonquin’s gotten so popular that autumn brings long line-ups, crowded trails, and traffic-snarling “leaf jams.”

So where can we go to see awe-inspiring fall colours, hike to breathtaking lookouts, and avoid the crowds?

Restoule Provincial Park.

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