Into the Woods

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when our access to so many places has been limited, the ability to go outdoors and enjoy nature has been highly valuable.

PARKS AND TRAILS HAVE BECOME PLACES OF REFUGE FOR THOSE NEEDING A BREAK FROM THE STRESSES AND MONOTONY OF BEING IN ONE PLACE DAY AFTER DAY.

As we continue to limit our interactions with large groups of people in the upcoming seasons, going outdoors might seem less feasible as the weather gets cooler; but with the right preparation, we should enjoy nature any time of year. Here are some tips to enjoy the great outdoors this fall and winter.

PREPARATION

Whether there’s snow on the ground or not, South Bend winters can get brutally cold. A winter coat is just the start of the cold weather gear you should be wearing before heading out into the great outdoors. All the essentials, including warm socks and insulated pants, will ensure your time outdoors is enjoyable! Handwarmer packets are an easy way to extend how long hands and feet stay warm. Throw a few packets in everyone’s boots and pockets on those extra cold days.

ACTIVITIES

Hiking – Venues Parks & Arts is committed to keeping trails accessible all year long, clearing snow regularly from all of
our trails throughout the city. Trails with great winter views include LaSalle Park, Gov. Kernan Trail, Riverside Trail and
Rum Village.
Mountain Biking – Biking is something to be enjoyed all-year. While serious mountain bikers can invest in different
snow-friendly gear like fat tire bikes, the city trails can be enjoyed with your regular biking equipment throughout the
seasons.
Cross Country Skiing and Sledding – When the snow falls, a whole new slew of winter activities are available. Elbel
and Erskine Golf Courses are known for their open spaces and hilly landscapes making great locations for cross country
skiing and sledding.

ADDED BENEFITS

Ample research has shown that being outdoors supports improved mental health. Exposure to nature, even in small amounts, has shown to reduce stress and other negative brain activities. Being outside in colder weather is no different and even presents its own additional benefits. Colder temperatures are shown to increase your resting metabolism and is important for helping your body produce vitamin D during a season with shorter daylight hours.

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To read more in the Fall/Winter 2020 Spark Magazine, click here.