May 2 - October 31, 2022Step Into Nature Healthy Hikes
Join the Healthy Hikes challenge and take a hike at a Conservation Area near you!
Every year from May to October, the Step Into Nature Healthy Hikes campaign challenges Ontarians to take a hike at Conservation Areas so they can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature.
Recent research shows that exposure to the natural world has tremendous benefits to our health, reducing stress and promoting healing. In 2021, more than 10 Million people visited Conservation Areas across Ontario.
Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities collectively own and operate over 500 Conservation Areas and more than 300 of them are accessible to the public. They play an important environmental, educational and recreational role in Ontario, and contribute to the physical and mental well-being of over 10 million visitors annually. Hidden within these natural gems are lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands, sand dunes, beaches, waterfalls, caves, forests, natural heritage sites, and more. Plan your visit and #StepIntoNature #Healthy Hikes!
Share your hike with us!
Visit a Conservation Area
Snap a selfie or nature image
Share it on social media with hashtags #StepIntoNature and #HealthyHikes
Try These Restorative Activities At Conservation Areas
The great thing about hiking is that it can be done alone or in a group of any size and it doesn’t require any serious equipment aside from sturdy shoes or boots. Get moving and go!
During the warmer months, join Yoga in the Park classes at participating Conservation Areas. Or, grab your mat, water bottle and sun protection, and get your downward dog on or practice your sun salutation outdoors. Namaste.
Forest Therapy Walks
Forest Therapy or “Shinrin-yoku” means spending time in nature that invites healing interactions. This requires mindfully moving through the landscape in ways that cultivate presence, opening all the senses and actively communicating with the land. These walks are a slow and mindful experience that can combine walking, sitting, standing or laying down. The walks are typically one kilometre or less and range in duration from two to three hours. Forest Therapy is currently being offered by the following Conservation Authorities: Cataraqui Region, Credit Valley, Kawartha, Quinte, and Toronto and Region.
Nature Is Self-Care
Did You Know?
International Self-Care Day is celebrated annually on July 24. In a nutshell, self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Its benefits are better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
Take 15 Minutes just for you
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, a self-care task should not be big or complicated – in fact, when energy and resolve is low, it’s important to make it as simple as possible. This is why they’re offering – simple 15 minute ideas to help you feel better.
Take 15 minutes to help with burnout
Take 15 minutes for your mental health
Take 15 minutes for your emotional health
Take 15 minutes for your physical health
Take 15 minutes for your social health
Take 15 minutes for your spiritual health
We challenge you to unplug, disconnect and to recharge by spending time in nature, hiking or doing one of your favourite outdoor activities.
Benefits of Trees
Research has linked tress to the following benefits:
Reducing Rates of Cardiac Disease, Strokes and Asthma Due to Improved Air Quality
Conservation Ontario is a member of the EcoHealth Ontario collaborative of professionals in the fields of public health, medicine, education, planning, and the environment who are working together to increase the quality and diversity of the urban and rural spaces in which we live.
There is growing evidence and awareness of the benefits that healthy ecosystems provide to the health and well-being of our communities. Yet the challenges we face include:
Intensifying climate change impacts
Increasing prevalence of physical and mental health issues
There is unequal access to the availability of good quality Greenspaces
We continue to see loss and degradation of greenspaces’ natural features and functions
Public policy to address these challenges is limited
The shared vision of EcoHealth Ontario is that everyone benefits from the provision of well-distributed, high quality greenspace, is aware of its contributions to health and well-being, and has access to its benefits.
What is Greenspace?
Public spaces such as parks, conservation areas, greenways, trails, urban and rural forests, street trees, community gardens, school grounds, shorelines and ravines
Private and Institutional spaces such as gardens, rooftops, cemeteries, golf courses and outdoor spaces associated with businesses, hospitals, care homes and universities
Greenspaces provide multiple benefits including economic, environmental, social and public health.
DYK - Spending quality time in #nature reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression. Visit your local Conservation Areas! 🌲🥾ontarioconservationareas.ca #BellLetsTalk #StepIntoNature #HealthyHikes #mentalhealth
DYK - Spending quality time in #nature reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression. Visit your local Conservation Areas! 🌲🥾https://ontarioconservationareas.ca #BellLetsTalk #StepIntoNature #HealthyHikes #mentalhealth