Why do we hit the nature recommendation so hard? Not only is it something that our society has pulled away from significantly in the past generation, but it has SUCH incredible health benefits that as professionals, we cannot ignore. Although a beautiful landscape is only an Instagram influencer account away, we are often not experiencing the benefits of that beautiful scenery firsthand. We are cooped up inside. Especially in the winter, instead of bundling up reaping the benefits of nature, we say it’s too cold, too icy, too “awful” outdoors, as if our bodies will give us a break and lessen our biological need for nature (not true!). We tend to stay indoors where blankets are nearby and the WiFi is strong. It’s no secret, connecting to the great outdoors has so much to offer our health, not only that, but it is a necessity. Just stepping outside is an instant energy boost, an immediate hit of Vitamin D and fresh air. It helps to make you feel more alive (which makes sense considering in nature you are surrounding yourself with life).

We make a point of getting outside to connect with our surroundings as much as we can at EPIC. We know the amazing health benefits and reaped their proven results. Naturally, we want to share these benefits with YOU. To make it easy, we’ve come up with simple ways you can incorporate nature into your regular schedule.

Keep it Local
When you explore outside of the downtown core you’ll discover that you actually don’t have to go very far to find some beautiful green space. We’re so fortunate that in Ottawa’s own backyard there are tons of places to go hiking or even just for a walk. An outdoor adventure is not far away- we even host monthly community hikes to incorporate nature into our regular fitness and wellness regime!

Plan an Outdoor Activity
Get together with your friends, your family and plan an event that puts you outside. Yes, even in the winter. There are so many fun activities you can do. A ski trip, tobogganing, a cottage getaway, a day at Parc Omega- these are just to name a few! And in the summertime? There are no excuses NOT to get outside.

Treat Yourself
Can you think of a better day than combining nature AND self-care? Treat yourself to a day at an outdoor spa. Even in the winter, the “thermal cycle” these spas offer help to relax your muscles and your mind. Add to this the serene forest surrounding and you will feel completely refreshed afterwards.

Take the Heel-Toe Express
Instead of always hopping in the car or waiting (forever) for the bus, why not try to walk when you can? Even in the city when you explore by foot you notice so much more. The lovely people, architecture, local cafes and shops- there is so much we unknowingly ignore when we are focused are sitting idle in a vehicle. Plus, it’s a great way to find best hidden gems of the city. Also, did we mention getting off the wifi? Turn the phone off and walk, no distractions!

Just Show Up
There are loads of running clubs or outdoor workout groups in Ottawa that you can be a part of, as well as outdoor races and marathons that you can participate in. The best part? A lot of them are free and are organized by the most inspiring and friendliest of folks. You are guaranteed to walk out (or run out) with a smile on your face and new friends. We, of course, will help you prepare for whatever event you want to train for but it can be nice to join a group (or start your own!) of people with similar goals.

Get Involved + Give Back
You can enjoy nature while helping your community! Animal shelters are always looking for dog walkers (this also helps with your upper body strength, by the way) or you can volunteer for street cleaning. These jobs may not be the most glamorous but they make a real impact, are a great way to meet new people, be involved in your community, give back and get outside!

Biophilia Decor
Okay, so this one doesn’t exactly leave the WiFi behind but for times when you do have to be plugged in for work or school at least you can freshen up your space with a few plants. When designing our Beechwood location we designed it with this type of decor in mind. Big windows, lots of light, big open space, plenty of vegetation, high ceilings. Take inspiration from us and use this in your home or office! For those of you lacking a green thumb, fret not! Succulents, cacti and terrariums are (almost) indestructible and super trendy right now (not to mention, super cute!). Plus there are countless benefits to having indoor plants, including better air quality, more oxygen, calmer sleep, lower blood pressure and many more!

We all have busy lives and it’s easier to say “I don’t have time! I’m busy” than just get up and explore nature. The truth is, dedicating time for yourself and including outdoors as part of your lifestyle will have tremendous benefits on your health, with the most immediate ones being a better mood, increased energy and calmer mind.

At EPIC, we thrive to incorporate as many outdoor activities for our clients as we can. Every Wednesday morning, we lead Beechwood Community Walks to give our clients a chance to get outside at least once a week for 2km. The walks allow us to explore our neighbourhood and make new friends. And every month we host a Community Hike in Gatineau Park or other NCC Green Spaces. Our March hike is this weekend, Sunday March 25th in the Gatineau Park. If you are looking for hiking buddies, this is the one for you!