Getting outdoors is good for your health and disposition, according to a growing body of researchers. Sure, there’s the value of heart-pumping exertion, which benefits the cardiovascular systems, but there’s something more.
Several studies, including one published in Environmental Science and Technology in 2011, suggest exercise outdoors benefits mental well-being more than the same type of exercise inside.
Kids exposed to natural environments learn new things and gain important skills and confidence as they traverse rocks, climb trees, and delight in new discoveries from bugs to waterfalls. Outdoor pursuits also give everyone a chance to disconnect from their devices and bond with each other and their surrounding environment.
Try these local paths that are family-friendly and free. To learn more, call 810-736-7100 or visit geneseecountyparks.org
CHIPPEWA NATURE CENTER
400 S. Badour Rd.
Midland, MI 48640
A full 7½ miles of trails are groomed for hiking. Check out the 3 mile River Trail, 0.6 mile Homestead Trail, and 3.5 mile Chippewa Trail. Equipment is not available for rent. Trails are marked but not lit. Open 365 days a year dawn to dusk, weather permitting.
5500 Bray Rd.
Flint, MI 48505
Almost a mile of trails along the shores of Mott Lake offer visitors a variety of views overlooking the lake to the quieter wooded part of the path.
BUELL LAKE COUNTY PARK
14098 Genesee Rd
Clio, MI 48420
The one-mile Buell trail begins steps away from the Buell Lake boat ramp and is perfect for a family hike. There’s also a play area and restroom at the trail’s end.
FLUSHING COUNTY PARK
4417 N. McKinley Rd.
Flushing, MI 48433
Enjoy the one-mile paved loop path, which runs along Carpenter Road and swings close to the Flint River.
FOR-MAR NATURE PRESERVE & ARBORETUM
2142 N. Genesee Rd.
Burton, MI 48509
Numerous miles of trails, including a 5k route at the north and main entrances, can be accessed to enjoy the beauty of For-Mar. Hike along the bend of Kearsley Creek and explore the pathways that twist through the stream’s heavily wooded mudflats. The trails have 60 signposts to help point visitors in the right direction.
LINDEN COUNTY PARK
15349 S. Linden Rd.
Linden, MI 48451
Visitors can explore two trails at Linden County Park. One is a 1.5-mile loop through beautiful terrain. The other is perfect for hikes and cuts right through the center.
RICHFIELD COUNTY PARK
6322 N. Irish Rd.
Davison, MI 48423
With the Flint River meandering through two miles of trails, visitors will discover a suspension bridge dating to 1930 that connects the north and south sides of this Genesee County park. The north side features trails perfect for walking.
STEPPING STONE FALLS
5161 Brand Rd.
Flint, MI 48506
Take a walk on the 1.25 miles of recently repaved terrain around the western side of Mott Lake and around the Flint River to Stepping Stone Falls.
This article was written for the online newsletter 810 KIDS! To subscribe, click here. Copyright 2019 Michigan Fitness Foundation. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.