Posted On February 23, 2015
The nature of fitness is changing – there’s more nature in it!
It’s no surprise that more exercise enthusiasts are venturing outdoors, as a growing body of research is extolling the mental and physical benefits of outdoor activity.
Exercising outdoors with your family is a great opportunity to have fun and build stronger relationships, while simultaneously improving your health and well-being. Outdoor activity increases fitness levels, an important strategy in helping the one in four Canadians who are obese to get fit.
Today’s families have become more plugged in and less connected to the natural world. The average Canadian spends 90 percent of his or her time indoors, and it is estimated that three million of us have an inadequate amount of vitamin D, which the body generates in response to sun exposure (that’s why it’s known as the “sunshine vitamin”), which now research has proven can be absorbed while wearing sunscreen!
Engaging in outdoor activities is also integral to the health of our environment. People who participate in nature activities in their youth are more likely to have pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors as adults. Spending time outdoors allows people to connect with nature, and increases a sense of ownership and responsibility to our surroundings.
Getting outside is easy with Saskatchewan’s abundance of natural spaces and the growing number of companies dedicated to outdoor fitness. There are a growing number of business that rent the equipment to take advantage of the season that monopolizes our weather calendar. Snow shoes, X-country skis, push sleds, skates, and my new favorite, fat tire bikes can all be rented for a nominal cost in Saskatoon!
Of course you don’t need to open your wallet to take advantage of the outdoors. There are plenty of spaces in and around Saskatoon that can eat up an afternoon with your family, friends, or pets. Our friends at the Meewasin are doing an exceptional job of developing Saskatoons river trails and for those of you with four legged friends there are off leash parks that offer plenty of trails, trees and sanctuary. The city planners are even on board, the annual wintershines festival is another inexpensive avenue to experience all that a winter outside has to offer.
More and more research is showing the profound benefits of spending time outdoors, so what are you waiting for? Get outside and get connected with both nature and your family.