Take a hike! Forest baths and nature therapy

July 28, 2015

GreenTrail2website (1)It’s amazing what the sight of a big old tree can do for the soul. I love the city but I get twitchy and cranky if there’s no green space in sight. Humans just weren’t built to live on pavement, so we can, unconsciously, get pretty edgy when we’re not getting enough contact with nature, even if it’s just a little, flower-filled yard. Put us in our primordial comfort zone – a forest – and we really start to zen out. Our blood pressure starts to drop, depression subsides and anxieties start to fade away. It’s amazing, really. The Japanese call it “forest bathing” or shinrin yoku. Though when researchers recently studied Toronto’s treescape they found that having just 10 or more trees on a city block boosts our health perception in a way that’s tantamount to earning $10,000 more a year. Yep, trees are a natural wealth re-distributor. They offer equal opportunity good vibes. The study also found those with eleven or more trees per city block actually had less heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Scientists haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why that happens but we don’t need charts and graphs to tell us what we already know deep down – that we feel more at peace, more at one, more refreshed, more inspired to move and take a good, deep breath when we’re immersed in nature. Call it ecotherapy, call it a simple walk in the woods, whatever you call it, just get out there and enjoy it while it’s hot! (Actually, it’s way cooler in a ravine or on hiking trail than it is in the smoggy urban core.) Which brings me to the #exploreGTA Twitter Party…


Get your green fix! #ExploreGTA Twitter Party

Need some fresh ideas for green spaces to explore?  Join me at the #exploreGTA Twitter Party Wednesday, July 29 at 8pm EST. We’ll be discussing the benefits of our protected green spaces and you’ll get new ideas for great green escapes from the day-to-day urban grind. It’s put on by the good folks at the Greenbelt Foundation, the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and Central Counties Tourism. I’m teaming up with them because 1) I love me some nature and 2) we all need to get off our butts, get out more and connect with what this beautiful earth has to offer literally minutes from where we live. So consider this your inspiration kick in the pants.

Why #ExploreGTA? With 535,000 acres of green spaces and 10,000 kilometres of trail, the region is positively brimming with incredible access to the great outdoors. There’s everything from fishing and camping to family friendly festivals, tree top trekking, playgrounds, and, of course, lots of nature hikes and walking trails. So, whether you’re a recreation fanatic, health pro or just love spending time outdoors, you’ll want to join the party.

What: #ExploreGTA Party
When: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Twitter
How: Simply log on to Twitter on the night of the chat or search for the hashtag #ExploreGTA to join the discussion and win prizes.

Make sure to RSVP if you want to win one of their prize packs!