Being outdoors can improve your health and well-being in many ways. Being in nature reduces stress, improves mood and focus, provides space to move and play and is a free source of vitamin D (with sunscreen, of course).
Getting outside is proven to be good for both your mental and physical health. Spending just 20 minutes in a park around trees — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve your overall well-being.
I am thrilled that the City of Winnipeg has seen a drastic increase in use of our parks and community spaces in the last year. We know, especially during the COVID-19 that outside is the place to be. In 2020, City of Winnipeg parks saw an increase in visits of 51 per cent, and we expect 2021 to grow even more.
I am proud to support public green spaces in the city, it’s important to me that everyone can access nature in their neighbourhood. Our parks and recreation spaces are critical infrastructure to safely connect with others, providing us a space to move our bodies and be together safely. These are important investments to build healthy communities.
I am a self-admitted gym rat. I love the gym, but it’s not really a place where I connect with my kids or others. Now that it’s warmer out, I love to kick a soccer ball around together with my family and incorporate them into my fitness routine. It’s a big part of our family’s healthy lifestyle.
Our parks and green spaces are supporting our social health, too. It’s been wonderful to have small groups of families and friends safely gathering in Winnipeg parks.
In the Point Douglas ward, I am proud to have several small community green spaces, large parks and amazing community centres for all to safely come together. Active transportation trails also allow you to explore and discover nature in the middle of the city.
Getting outside for our physical, mental and social health continues to be a great need as we endure the pandemic over the next few months or even years. I encourage you to embrace this warm weather and get outside to safely connect in our city parks and green spaces.
If you’re interested in kick-starting your spring fitness routine, I’m delighted to share with you a 12-minute, full-body park workout! To see the workout, please follow me on social media.
I’m on Instagram, @vivs204, and on Facebook, just search for Councillor Vivian Santos.
Point Douglas ward report
Vivian Santos is city councillor for Point Douglas.