Spending time in nature can have a positive impact on your health! Throughout the world there is a growing awareness of the important role parks play in human health. In 2010, Park’s Canada’s counterpart in Australia, Parks Victoria, launched a program called “Healthy Parks Healthy People.” This initiative sought to bring together park ecologists, doctors and others with the goal of unlock “the power of nature and parks for their preventative and restorative health and well-being benefits, while conserving biodiversity.”

Spending time in nature can:

  • Reduce stress and improve mood
  • Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Improve focus and productivity
  • Enhance creativity and self esteem
  • Improve your fitness level
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduce your risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers
  • Help you better manage the symptoms of chronic conditions such as pain and fatigue
  • Help you feel better and have fun
  • And so much more...
 

Inspired by the work of Parks Victoria and recent media stories about the health benefits of spending time in nature, staff at Gros Morne National Park are now working with healthcare professionals in the local area to help visitors and residents make the link between the health of the national park and their own health. Together, we have come up with a list of 25 things you can do in Gros Morne to improve your health.

Want to know more? Speak with park staff at the Visitor Centre in Rocky Harbour or at the Discovery Centre in Woody Point to learn how you can get healthy in Gros Morne National Park. Parks Canada is partnering with Western Health to bring you these suggestions of activities you can do in Gros Morne National Park to improve your health.

Improve your health in Gros Morne National Park

Here are 25 things you can do in Gros Morne to improve your health:

 

  1. GO FOR A WALK – Just 30 minutes a day can change your mood and improve fitness. Where: Any trail in the park

     

  2.  RIDE A BIKE – Whether your bike is fat, can climb mountains, has 10 speeds or training wheels, cycling offers a fun workout. Where: Stuckless Pond, Western Brook Pond or Old Mail Road Trail

     

  3. TAKE A “BATH” – Forest bathing – walking amongst the trees – is a popular activity in Japan linked to lower blood pressure and stress. Where: Stanleyville, Lomond, Berry Head Pond or Old Mail Road Trail

     

  4. BEACHCOMB – Combine a stroll on the beach with a beach cleanup and do a favor for yourself and the environment. Where: Coastal Trail, Green Point, Shallow Bay

     

  5. STRIKE A POSE – Enjoy yoga outdoors to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Where: Anywhere

     

  6. TAKE A SEAT – Find one of the park’s red chairs and soak in the scenery. Start with the easiest and work your way up to the more difficult to find. Where: Visit www.pg.gc.ca/grosmorne for a list.

     

  7. HAVE A BITE – Pack a lunch based on the new Canada’s Food Guide (www.food-guide.canada.ca) and eat al fresco at one of the park’s picnic areas.  Where: Trout River Pond, MacKenzies Brook, Western Brook, Shallow Bay

     

  8. GO FLY A KITE – Let Gros Morne’s legendary breezes be the wind beneath your wings. Where: Trout River Pond, Lobster Cove Head, Shallow Bay

     

  9. STAIR CLIMBING WITH A VIEW – Berry Hill, with its 60m of stairs, offers a short but intense workout. Your reward is a panoramic view of the Long Range Mountains and coastal lowlands at the very top. Where: Berry Hill Trail

     

  10. GO GEOCACHING – Search for geocache sites located in the park. Start with the easiest and work your way up to the more challenging to find. Where: Check out geocaching.com

     

  11. PLAY FETCH – Take the family pooch to the dog park where you can both get some exercise. Where: Green Point Campground

     

  12. GO SWIMMING – It can be therapeutic and easy on the joints. Where: Shallow Bay, Trout River Pond, Gros Morne Swimming Pool

     

  13. TAKE A PIC – Use your cellphone to go on a scavenger hunt in the park. Take photos of plants, animals and birds. Where: Anywhere

     

  14. STAR GAZE – Wonder at the beauty of the night sky and appreciate the important role of darkness in getting a good night’s rest. Where: Anywhere

     

  15. ART IN THE PARK – A pencil and paper is all it takes to create your own work of art.  Where: Anywhere

     

  16. BUILD SAND CASTLES – Take the kids and spend the day building sandcastles.  Where:  Western Brook beach, Shallow Bay beach

     

  17. CLIMB A MOUNTAIN – Tackle one of the park’s G7 summits for a strenuous workout. Where: Berry Hill Trail, Lookout Trail, Gros Morne Mountain Trail, Tablelands, Big Lookout, Killdevil Mountain, North Rim

     



  18. GO TRAIL RUNNING – Has walking your favorite trail gotten too easy? Pick up the pace for a more vigorous workout! Where: Any trail

     

  19. BIRD WATCHING – Watch and listen to the birds for a great stress reliever.  Where: Anywhere 

     

  20. WATCH THE SUN SET – Immerse yourself in the glorious colours of the setting sun while listening to the sounds of the surf. Where: Lobster Cove Head, Green Point, Shallow Bay

     

  21. GO CAMPING – Gaze into the flickering flames of a campfire before snuggling into your sleeping bag. Wake to the sound of birdsong.  Where: Trout River, Lomond, Berry Hill, Green Point, Shallow Bay campgrounds  

 

22. GO PADDLING – Kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard—water sports make a great workout. Where: Trout River Pond, Lomond, Shallow Bay

23. MEDITATE ON IT – Find a quiet place to close your eyes and be mindful of the sounds, smells, and feelings you have in this peaceful place. Where: Anywhere off the beaten track 
24. STEP BACK IN TIME – Remind yourself of a simpler time before smart phones and fitbits. Spend time ‘unplugged’ in nature with a friend.  Where: Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, Broom Point 

 

25.SKIP ROCKS – Embrace your inner child and experience the pleasure of skipping rocks. Where: Anywhere there is calm water and flat rocks