Get outdoors! The health benefits of the outdoor activities you love

Summer is slowly winding down, and fall is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to get outside and reap nature's benefits. Not only is nature beautiful to admire, but it also offers many physical and mental health benefits. Get outside and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer!


Enjoy a walk through a forested trail or park


Whether walking through a park, enjoying a walk on a forested trail, or strolling through a tree-lined neighbourhood, people of all ages report experiencing relaxing or invigorating effects after going out into nature. Trees in urban areas are associated with several beneficial effects on people of all ages' physical and mental health by providing environments conducive to physical and social activities.


Get hands-on in the garden


While gardening is sometimes considered a simple hobby, it is also a great activity with many positive effects on health and well-being. In addition to being therapeutic, it can help maintain physical fitness, improve flexibility, coordination, and strength, enhance psychological relaxation, improve self-esteem and depression symptoms, encourage creativity and create social bonds (and even intergenerational relationships.


Garden-related activities —such as growing flowers, vegetables, and fruits— are often self-guided, but trained therapists can also guide them through a type of practice called horticultural therapy. In older adults, horticultural therapy may improve physical functioning, mood, and quality of life and reduce body mass index.


Don’t have a garden at home? The beauty of gardening is that it can be done in various settings in the community or an aged care facility. This means that even if you do not have a front yard or backyard, there are different ways to access garden environments.


To learn more about the evidence-based ways that nature benefits you, read our resources below.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.