Are you an outdoorsy person? It seems we’re always divided into either the outdoorsy group – the people who go hiking and camping and white-water rafting – and the homebodies, who would be much happier curled up with a book indoors. Here’s the thing though: You don’t have to be an adventure sports lover to be an outdoorsy person – all you have to do is go outside – and you really should.
With purported benefits of being outdoors ranging from reduced stress levels to improved short-term memory to increased creativity, spending more time in nature (if you don’t already) is at least worth a try.
Ontario Parks is one group trying to make that easier for people to do. The association is on a mission to combat the “nature deficit disorder” it says many Canadians are suffering from due to our increasingly urban society. Ontario Parks stands behind the idea that spending time in nature is good for all facets of a person’s well-being – mental, physical and social – and supports Healthy Parks Healthy People, a global movement built on the connection between environmental health and human health.
According to Ontario Parks, "being regularly immersed in nature can prevent short-sightedness, while listening to nature sounds can decrease stress, and the scent of fresh pine has been known to reduce depression and anxiety.”
And it’s not just for adults – spending time outside is good for people of all ages. According to the Child Mind Institute, spending time in nature builds confidence in children and can teach them responsibility. Being outdoors also positively affects children’s brains by helping to promote creativity and imagination with an “unstructured style of play” that encourages kids to “think more freely, design their own activities, and approach the world in inventive ways.”
If you’re in Ontario this summer, consider taking the 30x30 Challenge with Ontario Parks, which challenges participants to spend 30 minutes in nature every day for 30 days. Visit Parks Canada for more information on parks across the country.