Canadians spending more time in nature to help cope with stress of COVID-19: poll

By Chris Halef

A new study shows Canadians are spending more time outdoors in an effort to cope with the mental impacts of the pandemic.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada commissioned Ipsos to conduct a poll to find out how much time people are spending in nature during the pandemic.

The poll revealed 82 percent of the people surveyed are spending time in nature while 37 percent said they are spending more time outdoors compared to their lives before the pandemic began in March 2020.

Jaimee Morozoff, Program Director for NCC in Nova Scotia, told CityNews Halifax these results don't come as surprise.

“Given the continuing pandemic situation, being outside and being outdoors is having such an impact to help with coping with all the stress and anxiety and with our mental and physical well-being,” she said.

Among the respondents, women, young people and young families were most likely to be spending more time outside.

But Morozoff said not everyone is spending more time outdoors.

“About 18 percent of people did say they're spending less time in nature,” she said. “Some of those people indicated they're following provincial health guidelines but another key thing was lack of access was a barrier for some Canadians.”

She said that's one area where Nova Scotians are lucky, adding there is no shortage of nature available to residents even in the city limits.

Morozoff encourages residents to spend more time outdoors, saying even going for a walk in your neighbourhood or sitting on your front step can help cope with the stresses brought on by the pandemic.

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