Staying mentally and physically active is important to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. School provides us with opportunities to exercise our mental fitness, though may sometimes over work and exhaust it. Getting physically active can sometimes be more of a challenge. Some individuals just aren`t into exercising or the gym, either because of the atmosphere or it may just not be for them.
Natural areas can provide a solution to that in some cases. They provide an alternative mode of exercise for those looking to get out of the indoor setting and into a more open and fresh arena. Hamilton is surrounded by forests and trails which allow you to go on hikes, runs, or bike rides and stay physically active while being outside. Why run inside when you can run outside in the woods and breathe fresh air? Exposure to natural systems is also great for the mind! Nature is a place of relaxation and reinvigoration. Exposure to natural systems has been shown to have beneficial effects on both stress and depression.
Eric Windhorst, an MSc student in the Department of Geography, explains the importance of natural systems in today's health care system in his article recently published in The Spectator.
For more information on the relatedness of Natural Environments and Mental and Physical Health, explore the resources provided in the attached – partial – bibliography.
Exposure to Nature is only one way to address both physical and mental health conditions. When it comes to Mental Health, McMaster University has recognized the need to address this issue at the university through http://mentalhealthstrategy.mcmaster.ca/
"McMaster will strive to nurture and support all students to be as healthy as they can be and to reach their potential. Mental health and well being are understood as key components to health. We will achieve this outcome through our ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive, and healthy educational environment"
We encourage students, staff and faculty to explore this resource and other ways to combat Mental Health.