9+1 Rewards & Reasons To Get “Out There” This Summer
 Brighten Your Grey Matter
Studies have found forest walking, or spending time doing activities in nature, shows evidence of lower levels of frustration, higher concentration and an increase in positive emotions for children and adults. Researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature. They also believe the findings could have a broader impact on helping people who may be suffering from mental fatigue. – Source
Other research has found spending days in nature, away from electronic devices, is linked with 50 percent higher scores on a test for creativity. The findings provide “a rationale for trying to understand what is a healthy way to interact in the world, and that burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature,” study researcher David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. Step away from the screen people! – Source
 Step Your Workout Up A Notch
Forget the gym. Walking and running outside has more benefits than using a treadmill or track – and is actually a more strenuous work out. First off, you stride differently when walking or running outdoors. Studies have found that outside fitness sessions use more muscles, and we even flex our ankles more when we walk or run outside. Secondly, once in a while the terrain changes on an outdoor trail – we walk or run downhill, and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. “In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.”
As well, the change of scenery helps to make it more reinforcing to exercise outside. In fact, it has been suggested that people who engage in outdoor pursuits are that much more likely to exercise regularly. It seems that it is a lot more boring to exercise for the sake of exercising in a gym than it is to engage in an outdoor activity. In other words, when you go for a paddle or a hike, it seems less like exercise and more like fun! – Source
 Nature Is Medicine
Along with reports of helping symptoms of anxiety and depression, it has been found those who live in the areas with the most amount of green space have lower levels of cortisol (known as the stress-hormone), and their self-reported feeling of stress were lower than those who spent more time in urban settings. – Source It has has also been found that children’s ADHD symptoms are greatly reduced when in the presence of nature (with findings consistent across age, gender, income groups, communities and geographical locations). –Source
So what’s the recommended dosage? Well, just two minutes of exposure to nature can help to relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress and after 2 hours our memory and attention span increases by 20%. Yet, after 2 consecutive days (or more) of spending time in a forest or green setting, our levels of cancer fighting white blood cells increase by 50%. Looks like spending time engaging with nature everyday is the the perfect dose! – Source
 Your Health & Life Depends On It
Spending time engaging with nature can increase the quality of your health and life span. Pennsylvania researchers found that patients in rooms with tree views had shorter hospitalizations, less need for pain medications, and fewer negative comments in the nurses’ notes, compared to patients with views of just a brick wall or no view, etc.
Studies have also found that spending time outside in natural settings brings about a 50% lower risk of diabetes, a 50% lower risk of heart attack and even a 30% lower risk of colon cancer. And in a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers found that people experienced more deaths from heart disease and respiratory disease when they lived in areas where trees had disappeared. So, really, not spending time in nature everyday could end up being the death of you. – Source, Source
 Boost Your Health & Fight Disease
How do wild spaces help our health and well being over urban spaces? Juyoung Lee of Chiba University found that leisurely forest walks, compared with urban walks, yield a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a seven percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate. On subjective tests, study participants also report better moods and lower anxiety. – Source
Spending time in nature can even help fight disease and cancer by increasing NK (Natural Killer) cells that are innate and essential to a healthy immune system. During one study, participants who agreed to regular a.m. & p.m. nature hikes, showed a 40% increase in their NK cells thru blood tests. A month later, their NK count was still 15% higher than when they started the study. However, those who participated in urban walking trips showed no change in NK levels. – Source
 Feel The Mystery & Magic Of Our World
Breathing in the fresh forest air has long been thought to cure many ailments. In Japan, a historical belief exists in the health benefits of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”. But what exactly is in the magical forest atmosphere where so many creatures live and dwell? We know trees absorb carbon dioxide and in turn produce oxygen as well as help to clean pollutants from the air. But as for the other compounds, turns out we don’t actually know. In California, researchers found 120 chemical compounds in the mountain forest air – but they could identify only 70 of them. It’s all still a mystery.
What ever it is, we are not the only creatures that depend on trees as a source of oxygen and life. Forests are home to countless animals, plants and other species. If you have ever come across a moose while on the water or in the quiet of the woods then you know, there is truly something magical in the experience of respectfully viewing a wild animal in it’s natural habitat. In fact, it can be quite exhilarating (especially if it’s a bear)! – Source, Source
 Build Independence & Relationships
Besides your personal health, spending time in wilderness with your partner and young ones has social rewards too.”Family experiences in the outdoors—especially those that include a little challenge or require a little work—afford great opportunities to build children’s competence and encourage their autonomy, even as we emphasize the importance of interdependence within the family group.”
“Whether caring for a garden, paddling a canoe across a lake, or setting up a campsite, everyone has responsibilities and cooperation is key. even the youngest child in the family can come to see that he or she has something to contribute to the common good. not only is that crucial to the child’s developing sense of self, but it allows the adults in the family to see the child’s competencies, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. this furthers the mutual trust and respect within the family—again, key ingredients for enduring close relationships.” –Source
 Sleep Better, Feel Better
Spending quality amounts of time in a natural setting can also help increase your quality of sleep. Studies show that being exposed to natural sunlight helps set the body’s internal clock; which helps to tell us when to sleep and eat, and helps to normalize hormonal functions that occur at specific times thru out the day.
But what’s more, studies have shown it only takes two hours of forest walking to improve the following sleep characteristics; actual sleep time, immobile minutes, self-rated depth of sleep, and sleep quality. In fact, Researchers say that tent camping for a week can actually reset the entire system (or biological clock) that governs our sleeping patterns. We don’t have to tell you how rewarding a good night sleep is – when we sleep better, we feel better. But did you know quality of sleep can even effect weight loss?! Yes, weight loss. So make sure you get “Out There” today so you can get a good sleep tonight. – Source, Source Source
 We Have To Use It So We Don’t Lose It
Our parks and forests are built on a user-based system of management where industrial motives continually edge out the needs of our natural ecosystems.
If we do not respectfully use, enjoy, and celebrate the forests, parks, and other green spaces we have left, there is a greater chance we will slowly – but surely – lose it to industry.
So do your part and get outside. Paddle the lakes and rivers. Portage and hike the trails. It is good for you and environmental policy too. – Source
[+1] There Are Rewards To Getting “Out There”
Out of all the benefits and rewards of spending time in a wilderness park this summer, there is another unexpected reward “Out There” waiting for few lucky paddlers on an undisclosed portage trail. That’s right! As part of the Paddle In The Park Contest, there are handcrafted Badger® canoe paddles hidden in the interior/backcountry areas though out some of Ontario’s most popular canoe routes. If you find one of these paddles, you get to keep it!
But that’s not all – when you find a hidden paddle and tell us where and how you found it – we will send you even more great prizes and gear; plus, when you take part in our Paddle Points Event this summer, you can earn points for a chance to win a Nova Craft Canoe and more (all in thanks to our amazingly supportive sponsors)!
So what are you waiting for?