'Wellness Wednesdays' bring physical activity and mental health awareness to Windsor

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A local initiative has returned with a special focus on outdoor activity.

The Wellness Wednesdays initiative comes from a partnership between the City of Windsor, and the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Partners, along with Windsor Police, Windsor Fire and Rescue Services and St. Clair College kicked off the event in Charles Clark Square Wednesday.

It encourages people to walk, roll, and talk during their lunch hour to realize the mental and physical health benefits of outdoor activity.

CMHA Windsor-Essex County Branch CEO Sonja Grbevski says something as simple as a change of scenery can go a long way for mental health.

“Go, move, change your environment, change your atmosphere. It really does help with re-calibrating yourself and changing your mindset, and there’s nothing better than being in the outdoors.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens walks alongside attendees and organizers. (Courtesy: Drew Dilkens)

Grbevski adds there’s a strong connection between our physical health and our mental health.

“Half the battle to feeling good is looking good," she began. "So when you’re out there, when you’re energized, when you’re feeling that connection with the rest of the world, you start moving away from that isolation, loneliness, and sadness.”

Grbevski says folks in the area are lucky to live near so much natural beauty.

“It doesn’t matter how you choose to do it, where you choose to do it, but we do have so many opportunities to change our environment, whether it is around the block, or it is in a conservation area.”

This initiative returns for the first time since 2019, since the pandemic stalled a successful run of walks at three years.

To mark the official kick-off, participants were encouraged to wear teal green as part of the CMHA Windsor-Essex County Branch’s Sole Focus Project. That’s the CMHA-WECB fundraising arm.