The U.S. Forest Service, Indiana University Health and the IU Center for Rural Engagement have joined forces to promote the health benefits of nature and are offering a series of Healthy Hoosier Hikes throughout the year.
The next hike is planned for 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 29 at Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, located just south of Bloomington in the Hoosier National Forest.
This family-friendly hike will have a guide and a medical professional from IU Health to provide health awareness. Hikers can choose a 1.2-mile hike or a 3.5-mile option. Space is limited, and participants are asked to register at wellnessoutinghikes.eventbrite.com.
The fee at the gate will be waived for hike participants. Attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch, water and sunscreen. Closed-toe shoes are recommended.
The partner organizations have a goal of improving community health by promoting physical activities in nature settings and creating awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature. Studies show that being in nature reduces stress, improves mood and mental performance, inspires creativity and may lead to longer lifespans. Physical activities such as hiking, biking or running improve physical and mental health.
The Hoosier National Forest provides more than 260 miles of trails for public access to nature between Monroe Reservoir and the Ohio River.