Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Five outdoor activities to improve your health

Who needs a gym membership when you’re outdoors?

Outdoor exercise has a stronger effect on blood pressure and mood than indoor exercise. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature, as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure and brain activity.

Simply put, time spent outdoors is good for you! Let’s take a look at some fun outdoor activities that can improve your health.

1. Cycling

Couple cycling on the trail

Cycling has many benefits for both the mind and the body.

For starters, it’s a great lower body exercise that works your quads, hamstrings, and calves. It will also help you do cardiovascular exercise and therefore improve your cardiovascular health.


Additionally, it is non-weight bearing, making it a good option for people who suffer from joint pain or injuries. Pedaling while maintaining balance and steering also improves coordination.

A bike ride is also great for your mental health! Cycling can relieve stress and improve your mood, plus it’s a great opportunity to bond with your friends and family.

2. Swimming

Children jumping into the water

Swimming is not just about enjoying the beautiful beaches of Ontario parks, but also about getting a head-to-toe workout!

Swimming is another great low-impact exercise, meaning it allows people recovering from an injury to stay in shape without straining the body. Water also provides resistance, which increases strength and muscle tone when swimming. Lastly, swimming stretches muscles and increases flexibility.

health benefits of swimming

Swimming helps you relax and de-stress. Floating in water dulls sensory information that can overwhelm, creating feelings of calm. Rhythmic movements and breathing can also provide meditative benefits.

See also  A winter walk on a frozen Lake Superior (ice caves!)

The next time you do backstroke, butterfly, or front crawl, think about all the amazing health benefits you’re getting!

3. Hiking

person walking

Hiking can be a leisurely walk in the park or an intense workout. Hiking tones your lower body and your upper body if you use poles. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise to keep your heart healthy and increases bone density like weight training.

HPHP Hiking Information

Feel trapped? Hiking can improve creative thinking and problem solving. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll hear sounds of nature, like birds and running water. These sounds have been shown to have a calming effect.

Hit the trails today and see the health benefits of hiking for yourself!

yoga on the beach

Looking for some peace and stability while enjoying the fresh air? Outdoor yoga could be for you! Yoga’s combination of mind-body exercises pairs perfectly with the health benefits of time spent outdoors.

Feel your worries fade away as you breathe fresh air and focus on your well-being. Contact with nature has been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, help mitigate illnesses, and reduce stress levels.


5. Row

Woman kayaking in clear water

Paddling enthusiasts often say that the biggest attraction is the peace and serenity of being on the water. Research shows that rowing has benefits for our physical and mental health.

Rowing exercises your upper body, increasing the strength of the muscles in your back, arms, shoulders and chest. It also works core strength and leg strength for kayakers.

Health benefits of rowing

Paddling is low impact, meaning there is less risk of injury or staining. Raise your heart rate and improve cardiovascular health.

See also  Life on a vernal pond in Ontario

Rowing also has mental benefits. Being in water has a calming effect on the brain and can help reduce stress levels. Rowing regularly can also help reduce levels of depression and anxiety.

Ready to go?

Use our park locator to plan your next workout at a park near you.