Hiking and Cycling the Greenbelt Can Do Wonders for Your Mental Health

With the pandemic still underway, let us all keep an eye on our bodies and minds. The University of British Columbia and the Canadian Mental Health Association report that 40% of Canadians have seen worsening mental health since the pandemic started. Feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression have been accompanied by a rise in alcohol and substance use.

Based on a national survey, Canadians have been primarily handling stress by heading outdoors. Outdoor activity boosts the immune system, improves sleep, decreases anxiety, and enhances self-esteem. Launched in 2015, the Greenbelt is among the most important natural ecosystems in Ontario. The Greenbelt route spans 475 kilometers from Niagara to Northumberland. The marked trails connect to both the Trans Canada Trail and Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. Aside from that, Greenbelt has conservation areas and parks for everyone.

The Greenbelt Foundation has partnered with Waterfront Regeneration Trust on a new project to add six connector routes along the Greenbelt-Lake Ontario Waterfront cycling loop. Local businesses have installed bike racks in tourist spots nearby to enhance the experience. Canadians will do well to take advantage of these opportunities for outdoor recreation for the sake of their health.

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