Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.
We all know that fresh air is good for us, right?
Time in nature has been proven to lead to better sleep, improved productivity, lower stress, increased self-esteem, better mood, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart attack. The research is clear: spending time in nature improves our physical, mental, and social well-being.
Imagine how much your health and happiness could improve if you spent quality time outdoors every day for a whole month. This is what the 30×30 Challenge is all about. Sounds like a great way to get healthy!
We now have the science to back that up! Researchers at Trent University surveyed the participants of last year’s 30×30 Challenge to find out more about the benefits of nature contact. The study taught us a lot about park users, and how time in nature benefits their health.
To start, those who signed up for the 30×30 Challenge were already park users. Participants were active, outdoorsy people who were already very connected to nature.
Even these dedicated nature-lovers experienced significant health benefits by completing the 30×30 Challenge. The perceived health of those in the challenge improved throughout the month. Negative emotions declined and vitality increased. Joining the nature challenge was a mood booster for participants.
Emailing and internet use declined significantly during the challenge, even though users were spending the same amount of time outside as before. Spending time in nature every day also increased the already strong connection to nature of the participants.
Simply put, the more time someone spent in nature, the more their well-being improved. We now know for sure: the 30×30 Challenge is good for you!
How to take the challenge
Committing to the challenge is a cinch!
To take part, you simply need to make the effort to spend 30 minutes outside in a quality green space every day for 30 days. It could be a forest, beach, trail, or a park, of course!
Spending 30 minutes outside can be simple. There are a ton of outdoor activities to do during August. You can watch a sunrise, paddle a lake, or take a guided hike. Experience unbelievable landscapes, and be inspired by the stunning views of Ontario Parks. Or simply take a moment to relax, breathe, and take in the benefits of the outdoors for your brain and body.
It takes at least 21 days to make something a habit. By accepting the 30×30 Challenge, you are taking the first step towards making nature a regular part of your life.
The challenge allows you to make a commitment to better health in the outdoors, and reconnect to the beautiful environment all around us.