Ro Nwosu (WildRoga) is a yoga teacher, trainer and physical educator known for her infectious laugh and innovative thinking to get people moving.
August is when I usually organize the last of my summer plans and start looking forward to autumn.
I had a busy start to summer this year, so I was craving a routine. YesSometimes knowing where to start can be difficult, andespecially after moving to a new city and settling in.
Ontario Parks challenged me to make nature a habit this August by spending 30 minutes outdoors for 30 days for the Healthy Parks Healthy People 30×30 Challenge.
At first I thought “can I make time for 30 minutes? every day?”
I quickly realized that the key was to plan some routine activities that I could do.
I started my first day of the 30×30 Challenge by taking a 30-minute walk around my new area to study the architecture and think about what other activities I could do.
Ontario Parks gave me some great ideas on how to spend time in nature.
When I got home, I made a list, posted it on my desk, and put reminders on my calendar.
It is important for me to set aside time so as not to abandon the commitment.
Taking a break from virtual space
As a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, much of my work has moved virtual.
Some days I get stuck working behind the desk and forget to take breaks. This challenge reminded me that it is important to schedule time to move on my own.
It was also nice to see other people enjoying the outdoors with me and I felt more connected to myself and society.
Creating a 30-minute routine helped me put things in perspective and feel gratitude, especially when it came to realizing how much the outdoors has to offer not only for me, but for my family as well.
It was great to engage them by going to the beach more, playing in the park, running through green spaces, and having a snack or two while we chatted about our day or what we might do next.
Connection happens differently when you are outdoors enjoying everything around you.
The first few days it took me a little getting used to, but I realized that once I was outside, I had a hard time getting back in!
My mood changed drastically after my daily rest in nature. I was more focused when it came to organizing the rest of my day and I didn’t feel very stressed when it came to answering emails. It made the rest of the day more manageable!
I started making it a point to do more of my usual work outside, like completing paperwork, creating my yoga classes, or just quietly reading a book.
Every time I went out for a walk or hike, I made sure to bring a blanket and a bottle of water so I could take a moment to stop and enjoy my surroundings.
There’s plenty to see, whether you’re on the city streets or on a wild trail.
I loved walking around the city, seeing people having fun and noticing the colors and sounds.
I explored nature trails in my hometown, near Calabogie and beyond. As I walked I saw the sky change color and felt the temperature change.
I noticed the plant life, the intertwined roots, the tranquility of the ponds, and the wildlife from frogs to insects to chipmunks.
I live in the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people. Taking the time outdoors to respect and recognize this in itself was an expression of gratitude and appreciation.
After a week or two of exploring my own area, it was time to go a little further.
The family and I set out to camp at Rideau River Provincial Park in Kemptville.
This park is located along the Rideau Waterway with beautiful shady campsites, plenty of open space, wildlife, and tons of activity opportunities.
If you are visiting for a day, I recommend getting a seasonal permit. You can go canoeing, explore the trails, hang out on the beach, fish, have a picnic, or even take a nap in nature.
My family and I chose camping so we could spend a few days without technology, without walls or schedules, and just enjoy.
It may have been a very hot day, but we were able to cool off on the beach and on the Shoreline Trail, which is shaded and has beautiful foliage.
We saw several woodpeckers, water lilies, flowers and mushrooms growing on the trees. I took the opportunity to teach my son about ecosystems and how they work.
We learned about the Discovery programs offered at many parks. Children can learn about different types of animals and insects, and other fun aspects of nature in the area.
Our camping trip definitely gave us much more than the required 30 minutes of daily time in nature. The real challenge came when we got home and needed to continue making the most of our 30 minutes.
We find time to walk, skate and go to the beach to ensure we get our dose of nature every day.
The end was just the beginning
Although the challenge was only for 30 days, I encourage you to spend time in nature every day.
Getting outdoors helped me sleep better and I felt mentally stronger and more creative.
Exploring and moving made me observe more and really helped cheer me and my family up over the last 30 days.
It was a great way to explore the new area I call home, make more memories with family, and enjoy all aspects of the outdoors and nature.
I will continue to spend 30 minutes outdoors throughout the fall and winter, while recognizing and respecting the beautiful land and provincial parks that are right on my doorstep.
Just because the 30×30 Challenge is over for 2022 doesn’t mean you should stop going out!
There are countless benefits to getting outdoors for 30 minutes a day.