Guest Contributor: GenWell Project
The GenWell Project, the Global Human Connection Movement launched in Canada in 2016, is pleased to partner with Trans Canada Trail, to ensure that all Canadians recognize that by hiking with others, they don’t just double the amount of time spent on the Trans Canada Trail, but that they also get the opportunity to improve their social health, now deemed to be as important as exercise and eating well.
Research now suggests that staying socially connected is a greater indicator of our health than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure, and that chronic social isolation is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! We all know how bad that would be for our health and now we need to recognize the benefits of staying socially connected too!
Check out The GenWell Project research called the Canadian Social Connection Survey. The goal is to better understand the role that social connection played for Canadians during the global pandemic and to guide Canadians to better social connection habits as we come out of the rotating lockdowns. Here are just a few key takeaways from the research, but you can download all of the results at this link – https://genwellproject.org/research/.
- Six-in-ten Canadians are feeling somewhat or much lonelier since the start of the pandemic.
- 77% of people who have poor self-rated physical health are lonely.
- 95% of people who have poor self-rated mental health are lonely.
- Among Canadians who are most burned out, 92% are lonely.
- Loneliness rates were greater than 46% for all demographics.
And now the good news
- Canadians who spent 5 or more hours per week socializing with family members were 2.14 times more likely to be happy;
- 72% of Canadians report that the time spent with neighbours is meaningful and fulfilling.
- Those who spent 1 to 4 hours with neighbours in the past week were 3.03 times less likely to be lonely.
- Those who spent 1 to 4 hours with friends in the past week were 1.64 times less likely to be lonely;
- Those who greeted strangers at least once per week were 2.92 times more likely to be happy.
“We are truly excited to partner with Trans Canada Trail and the Great Canadian Hike. Sometimes we all need a reason or an excuse to reach out, and getting out for a hike during the beautiful Canadian fall season, and getting connected, may be the perfect combination for us all to get hiking!” says Pete Bombaci, founder of The GenWell Project.
For more information on The GenWell Project, you can check out their website at www.GenWellProject.org