THIS ITEM ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN POSTMEDIA PUBLICATIONS IN CANADA ON FRIDAY OF THIS WEEK.
This is crazy, folks.
Almost every Canadian believes that spending time outdoors is good for us and reduces our stress. But a new study says nearly three in 10 Canadians spend less than half an hour a week in the fresh air each. That’s less than five minutes a day!
The 2017 edition of the Coleman Canada Outdoor Report, a survey of more than 1,500 Canadian adults hosted by Angus Reid Forum, found that 98% of Canadians feel that being outdoors enhances our well-being. It also found that 95% of Canadians feel that spending time in the great outdoors reduces our stress.
It also found that eight in 10 Canadians feel that our iconic landscapes – the Rocky Mountains, the seashore, our dramatic lakes and other features – are a defining characteristic of Canada.
Makes sense, right?
Remarkably, however, the study also found that 29% of us, almost three in 10, say we spend less than a half hour per week outside. That means less than five minutes a day! Sixty four per cent of us are enjoying the open-air for less than two hours a week.
(I’m not a big winter person, but I think I spend a good 10 minutes or more outside almost every day. In good weather, I try to stay outside as long as I possibly can; often for the entire day barring trips to the washroom or the fridge.)
While we’re not getting outside much, we appear to feel a bit guilty about it. Eighty four per cent of those surveyed said they’d like to spend more time outdoors but that their personal or family schedules (51%) or their work schedules (46%) don’t allow it.
To encourage Canadians to get out there and enjoy the country’s beauty and reduce our stress, Coleman is continuing its Get Outside movement, now in its fourth year. The camping and outdoor supplies company is declaring July 14 “National Get Outside Day” to remind us of the things we say are important for our mental and physical health.
“With celebrating our country’s 150th birthday this year, what better time than now to enjoy and explore our beautiful outdoors,” said Dawn Whiteside, Brand Activation Manager at Coleman Canada.”
Not only is it good for us to get out of the house, Whiteside also noted that Parks Canada is making all Canadian national parks free this year to celebrate our 150th birthday.
The Angus Reid study found that 73% of those surveyed complain about the weather as a reason for not getting outside more. Others cited too many bugs (43%), not knowing what to do (an alarming 33%) and not having Wi-Fi or Internet (21%).
“In our research we found that Canadians cite many different barriers preventing them from spending time outdoors including not knowing what to do outside and not having anyone to do it with,” said Whiteside.
She said Coleman encourages Canadians to discover an activity they enjoy outside, even if it’s as simple as a picnic in the park.
“For those who want to try camping but prefer to do so with some comforts from home, investing in an airbed and a coffee maker can make the campsite an outdoor extension of home,” she said. “The most important thing is for Canadians to get outside and enjoy all the benefits that has to offer.”
For more information on National Get Outside Day, visit https://www.facebook.com/ColemanCanada/