By Erin Phelan
Ah, spring! Is there anything nicer than feeling the sun on your face after a long winter, seeing the buds on the trees and watching flowers peek up from a deep slumber as the ground warms up? Earth Day began in the 1970s as a celebration of the amazing planet we live on, and after this pandemic year we should all celebrate by getting outside in nature, helping the planet and reaping the health benefits of exercise. It’s a win-win-win!
There is a body of research that shows how time in nature
improves our health. In fact, doctors in British Columbia are prescribing doses of nature
for mental health. A study of over 20,000 people discovered that two hours weekly was the magic number. So, as parents, it’s important to encourage our kids to get outside and experience life out of the house and classroom this Earth Day to help relax, recharge and better the body and mind.
Here are a few healthy ways to get your children moving on Earth Day:
1. Plogging or Plalking for The Earth
The greatest thing to come out of Sweden since IKEA is “plogging” or plalking” - combining jogging or walking with picking up litter. To really get your ‘hood squeaky clean and show your children the value of nature, consider inviting several families to ‘plog’ together and make it fun and competitive!
2. Cycle Power for the Earth
Make a choice to spend all of Earth Day vehicle-free, and opt for bi-pedal power instead. Cycling can burn up to 500 calories an hour, and is great for cardiovascular fitness, as well as for peaceful, relaxing treks around town. There are now more ways to get your ride on, with cities all across Canada having bike-sharing programs. Just remember to pack a helmet!
3. Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
There’s nothing like a fun activity to help recharge the body and mind. Have fun and print off an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt bingo card
where your kids can go for an epic walk, finding beautiful things that their neighborhood has to offer. Have fitness prizes ready – tennis balls, jump ropes and eco-friendly water bottles!
4. Hit The Trails
A passion for hiking has surged since the pandemic began. The health benefits of hiking
include lowering stress, reducing blood pressure and one additional benefit – working your core! Hiking provides our bodies with new challenges with terrain changes, as well as ascents and descents, which will push your legs and your heart. There are lots of options for hiking in Canada
. Ensure you and your family have proper footwear and lots of water and be sure to make the hike age appropriate – estimate about a kilometer for each year as a guide. For example, your five year-old should be able to handle a 5k hike, any more and you might get grumbling. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and snacks as well!
It’s time to get outside again – and there is no better time than Earth Day!