Healing in the forest: a guide to forest bathing

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 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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The great outdoors are… great!

Today’s blog comes from Sarah Higginson, a market development specialist with Ontario Parks.

August is over and so is the Healthy Parks Healthy People 30×30 Challenge.

This was my first year taking on the challenge (not counting the year I did it for two days then got distracted) and it was a magical month-long adventure filled with scenery, sunshine, and even some self-awareness!

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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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Health benefits of fishing

Fishing is an iconic Canadian pastime. There’s nothing like spending the day by the water with your friends and family, casting a line and enjoying the great outdoors.

But did you know you can get more than a killer catch from a day of fishing? Fishing actually has benefits for your physical and mental health.

Here are a few ways fishing can improve your overall well-being.

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How to use your senses to experience nature at home

Today’s post comes from Rachel Gagnon, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Did you know that nature can touch all our senses: sound, smell, sight, touch, and taste?

During these times when we can’t visit our favourite natural spaces, bringing pieces of nature home can help us experience some of its benefits.

So few things in the world stimulate our minds and bodies like nature does. It can soothe us, alleviate our stress, and put us in a better mood.

Here are some ways you can incorporate nature into your daily life through connecting to your five senses:

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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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4 ways camping helps us slow down and enjoy life

Today’s post comes from Connor Oke, an Ontario Parks marketing intern. 

We live in a world that demands a lot of us.

Canadians work overtime at higher rates than they did 25 years ago. At the same time, we spend more hours in front of screens and on social media, which are linked to increased anxiety and distractedness. We also get less sleep than we did 15 years ago.

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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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