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Step Into Nature Healthy Hikes - Protect Your Mental Health

Step Into Nature Healthy Hikes - Protect Your Mental Health

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. (Canadian Mental Health Association)

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Mental Health Week is observed during the first week of May. This year the theme is #GetReal about how you feel. Name it, don't numb it. We’ve teamed up with CMHA – Ontario to spotlight mental health. Our May Healthy Hikes campaign will focus on the mental health benefits of nature within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow our campaign on social media from May 3-9!

DID YOU KNOW - There are nearly 300 publicly accessible Conservation Areas across Ontario. #StepIntoNature #HealthyHikes at one near you.

Nature sounds can help you relax. Instead of scrolling in the glow of your screen, try to unwind and set yourself up for restful sleep by listening to meditative sounds of birds by a creek or gentle wind in trees.

2 hours/week, 20+ minutes at a time. That’s all it takes.

Research shows that people who spend at least 2 hours in nature each week report significantly better health and well-being. Science suggests that the most efficient drop in cortisol (stress hormone) levels happens between 20 to 30 minutes - hence the 20-minute rule.

Spending time in nature:

  • Busts stress: Sitting in a forest for just 15 minutes significantly reduces your cortisol levels and heart rate variability - while sitting on a urban street does nothing.
  • Makes you feel richer: Living in a neighbourhood with 10 more trees per block improves your health perception similar to an increase in your personal income of $10,000 per year.
  • Increases your happiness: 9 in 10 Canadians say they feel happier when they’re more connected to nature.
  • Gives your brain a rest: People who take a walk in green space instead of on a busy street have fewer repetitive, racing thoughts.
  • Connects you to others: Spending time in neighbourhood green spaces makes you feel more connected to your community and improves social cohesion.

Original post by Conservation Ontario.