Going for a walk is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy and happy. And, as it turns out, getting your steps doesn’t necessarily mean a long hike or even a strenuous pace to reap the benefits of moving your body. In fact, walking at a brisk pace for about 30 minutes daily is enough to provide benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and even death.
But that’s not all! You can also expect:
- Improved sleep
- Better mood
- More energy throughout the day
- Reduced stress
- Better endurance
So, how can residents of Hancock County make sure to get their 30 minutes of walking every day?
Hit the trails
We are so lucky to have some great walking trails right here in our own community. Getting outdoors and breathing in the fresh during an outdoor walk is a surefire way to celebrate the impending spring and stay in shape. Here are our favorites:
This one is an obvious winner in our book. Pennsy provides a longer walk over asphalt, making it accessible for the handicapped or those who have trouble with gravel, grass, or dirt. It follows the old section of the Pennsylvania Railroad (hence the name Pennsy). You will find water fountains, exercise equipment, parking areas and restrooms along the trail for your convenience. Grab your copy of the trail map as well as parking availability here!
We love the short but nature-rich trails at this local preserve. Choose from a paved 1-mile trail around a beautiful 1.5-acre pond or wander off onto some grassy trails instead. If you are aiming for 30 minutes of brisk walking, chances are you will need to make a few laps, but the birds, prairie flowers, and sounds of nature make it a pleasant and stress relieving way to spend your time outdoors. Parking is located at the center of the preserve and can be accessed at the intersection of County Road 300 North and Franklin Street.
Thornwood Nature Preserve
This nature preserve offers a bit more wilderness. Known for great birdwatching, Thornton offers five different trails of varying levels so you can choose your own adventure. Kept more in its natural state than other preserves in Hancock County, you won’t find fancy restroom or many amenities here. However, if you want to make sure your 30-minute walk includes some beautiful scenery, plenty of birding and the chance to leave the noise of the day behind, this is the trail for you! You can find Thornwood south of Greenfield.
Some other preserves and hiking trails we love include:
- Jacob Schramm Nature Preserve
- Mary Moore Park
- Henry B. Wilson Park
Get your steps even when the weather isn’t cooperating!
If you find yourself feeling squeamish about a hike in inclement weather, remember you can always get your steps at your local Hancock Wellness Center! Our indoor tracks are available for walking, jogging and running daily. So, grab your headphones (or a friend), pop in your favorite tunes, and jumpstart your health with a brisk 30-minute stroll indoors!
Walking for just a short time every day, is a great way to keep your body in shape and let your stress melt away. If you can combine this activity with a stroll in nature, you will find even more benefits along the way. You can invite friends or family to come or use the time for quiet and solitude. Audio books or music are also a popular walking companion. Either way, get out and get moving starting today!
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