Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Ontario has joined the world-wide Healthy Parks Healthy People movement and is encouraging everyone to visit a provincial park to improve their health. Ontario’s provincial parks will be open to the public free of charge on July 17 this year for all day-use visitors.
Started in Australia, Healthy Parks Healthy People reinforces and encourages the connections between a healthy environment and a healthy society.
Research shows access to nature and green space plays a vital role in physical and mental health, wellbeing and development:
- Contact with nature has been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, help fight disease and reduce stress.
- Activities done in a natural environment reduce anger, fatigue and sadness compared to the same activities in a human-made environment.
- Communities with more green space have lower rates of crime and violence.
- Incorporating physical activity into your day can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.
With more than 330 provincial parks in Ontario, our province’s natural spaces are the perfect places for fun and healthy activities.
To help get people active and outdoors, many parks will be offering a number of fun activities on July 17, and throughout the year. Healthy Parks Healthy People day events include:
- A guided mine hike at the Silver Queen Mine, Murphys Point Provincial Park
- A paddle around French Lake and sweet grass Yoga at Quetico Provincial Park
- Yoga on the beach at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
Check out more events like these, or simply bring family or friends to your favourite park and create your own.
Encouraging Ontarians to be healthy and enjoy the outdoors is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.
- Walking is Ontario’s most popular physical activity. Why not try it in a provincial park?
- In 2014, Ontario’s provincial parks received more than 8.5-million visits from people around the world and brought in over $70 million in revenue, which supported jobs and businesses across the province.