You are here
Mood Walks: Walking for Better Mental Health
It is summer time and that means it is finally time to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it be a walk through the forest or an urban jungle, there is tons of research and evidence to prove that being physically active can improve not only your physical health but also your mental health. It is for this reason that the Canadian Mental Health Association created Mood Walks.
Mood Walks has been rapidly expanding across Ontario and promotes physical activity in nature, or what they call “green exercise” to improve not only physical health but mental health as well. Mood Walks is a partnership between CMHA, Hike Ontario and Conservation Ontario and provides training to community and campus organizations who want to support their community (big or small) to be healthier both physically and mentally. Mood walks offers tools and resources to help connect organizers with participants, local resources and volunteers, and to promote the exploration of nearby trails and green spaces.
A number of different organizations have taken the Mood Walks initiative on, beyond the local CMHA branches. Many post-secondary campuses offer a monthly Mood Walk group for their students and staff. Similarly, community agencies have adapted the program to a wide range of audiences including seniors and at-risk youth. Regardless of the target audience, Mood Walks has the ability to connect people, generate discussion around mental health and increase overall mood, no matter who the participants are.
If you would like to learn more about Mood Walks and how you can participate or get involved, here are some ways to help:
- You can sign up for their mailing list at www.moodwalks.ca
- Many post-secondary campuses offer Mood Walks for both students and staff. If not, let them know you’re interested in joining or starting a group.
- If there isn’t an official Mood Walks group in your community, you can connect with a local hiking club or go to a local conservation area. You don’t need to be part of an official Mood Walks group to benefit from hiking in nature. Check out hikeontario.com and ontarioconservationareas.ca to find out more.
- It is easy to start your own Mood Walks Group with the help of the The Mood Walks Program Manual. The Manual can help with practical strategies and tools that can be tailored to meet your needs and goals, including information about how to overcome challenges, spark enthusiasm among participants, and maintain motivation. In order to have access to the manual you need to register at www.moodwalks.ca.
Nathan is an energetic and passionate youth advocate who has spent over two decades supporting youth with mental health and wellness. Through his work in public health, youth program development and coaching, Nathan brings a wide range of experiences in supporting youth to achieve their personal goals and to make positive change in their community. When not in the office Nathan spends most of his time taking care of his fur baby, playing volleyball or coaching basketball.
Find blogs with relevant and up-to-date info about mental health, society and other youth topics; written by a variety of youth and professional contributors.