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!

Continue reading Health benefits of backcountry camping

Health benefits of cross-country skiing

Staying active in the winter isn’t always easy. For some of us, it’s tempting to stay in, cuddle up, and spend the long winter months binging Netflix and unhealthy snacks.

Cross-country skiing boasts a wide array of benefits for your physical and mental health. Here’s why you should strap on some skis and spend your winter gliding through frozen forests and snow-covered trails:

Continue reading Health benefits of cross-country skiing

Mental health benefits of the outdoors

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:

Continue reading Mental health benefits of the outdoors

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:

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

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.

Continue reading 4 ways camping helps us slow down and enjoy life

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:

Continue reading First Day Hike destinations

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.

Continue reading Health benefits of dark skies

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!

Continue reading 5 ways to stay active in the cold

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?

Continue reading The restorative health benefits of protected areas