Why Chasing Waterfalls Helps to Balance a Busy, City Lifestyle.
Have you noticed it? Life in the city moves fast! Maybe it's the endless stream of fun events to choose from, maybe it's your Uber driver getting lost, or maybe its the seasonal construction happening right outside your apartment window but sometimes the urban environment can be... overly stimulating.
If you're feeling a tad stressed out- Parkbus has got a hot tip for you: it's called Waterfalling and its a great activity to help shake off those busy city vibes. With over 500 waterfalls to choose from in Ontario alone this simple remedy is easily accessible to all. What is it? Simply put-- making waterfalls your destination and steeping in their numerous health benefits.
Something interesting happens when people get close to water- stress levels lower, heart rates slow, and your sense of well being increases. It's enough to make you wonder... are waterfalls magic? Maybe! But there's more than just magic at hand when it comes to the medicinal properties of nature.
Read on to understand more about what makes waterfalls so feel good!
1. Waterfalls release negative ions.
These have been long thought to increase blood flow and oxygen to the cells in our bodies! This has a positive impact on our mood and can create a sense of calm. It's not just waterfalls that release these ions, oceans and any body of moving water do too. This might explain why our friends in B.C. are so laid back:) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213340/
2. Our bodies respond positively to the sight of nature.
Even if we live in a city- something inside of us still operates at the pace of nature. Take this example from the Sustainable Sites Initiative:
“Hospital patients who have a view of natural landscapes recover faster from surgery and require less pain medication. In addition, heart rate, blood pressure, and other measures return to normal levels more quickly when people view natural rather than urban landscapes after a stressful experience.”
The Sustainable Sites Initiative. Standards and Guidelines: Preliminary Report. November 1, 2007
3. Waterfalling promotes physical exercise.
Did you know that Hamilton, ON considers itself the waterfall capital of the world? That is one of the reasons why Parkbus and ActiveDays go there on the regular. With over 100 falls within the municipal boundaries there are lots of sites to chose from. But- if you want to catch a glimpse of some of the rarer beauties you've got to work for it! Our ActiveDays trip to the Dundas Valley hits 3 waterfalls and covers up to 14km of trail- think healthier muscles, bones, skin, moods, increased energy levels and decreased anxiety. Not in Ontario? No worries we’ve got you covered in Vancouver as well with a trip to Norvan Falls
4. The Forest Connection.
You may have heard the term lately- 'Forest Bathing' a popular activity that looks at the healing and medicinal properties of spending time in a forest. Japanese medical doctor and leading researcher on the topic Qing Li has identified some incredible positive health benefits of spending time in the forest including: reduced stress, anxiety, depression and anger; strengthened immune system; improved cardiovascular and metabolic health; and an increase in overall well-being.
5. Chasing Waterfalls gets us outdoors!
According to The National Human Activity Pattern Survey the average American spends 93% of their time indoors. We know you already know the many reasons that the outdoors are great, many of them mentioned above, but most of all connecting to nature helps us remember that we are part of something bigger, and maybe- just for a moment- we forget about the construction and the business of the city!
Spend a day Waterfalling with Parkbus and ActiveDays. Check out our upcoming trip to the Dundas Valley where we'll be visiting Tiffany, Sherman AND Cantebury falls, or Norvan Falls for the West Coasters and spend the day bathing in the forest and experience the health benefits of a day outdoors.