Fitness & Nutrition

A Walk a Day is Good for Body, Mind, and Soul

March 31, 2020

There’s a daily breather built into Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s coronavirus directive: A clause allowing us to exercise outside once a day, even as we mostly stay inside trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We can get the kids and dog out of the house, breathe in the fresh air, and be active while still maintaining social distancing guidelines—keeping six feet between ourselves and others. And there’s also an opportunity to see the Hancock County parks we haven’t visited.

Whether you’re into rugged hiking challenges, looking for a cardio workout, or you just want a leisurely one-mile stroll, Hancock County has got a park to suit your needs.

Here’s a list of spacious local parks, open daily from dawn to dusk:

Beckenholdt Park

Size: 75 acres
Amenities include: 1.5-acre pond, 1-mile paved walking loop trail, wetland, observation deck, and 2-acre dog park
Address: 2770 North Franklin Street, Greenfield

Brandywine Park

Size: 60 acres Amenities include: nature trails, 20 soccer fields, three softball fields, Brandywine Creek
Address: 900 E. Davis Road

Henry B. Wilson Park

Size: 14 acres
Amenities: multi-use trails for walking, running and mountain biking, wooded setting along Brandywine Creek
Address: 2349 Collins Way, Greenfield

Jacob Schramm Nature Preserve

Size: 31-acre forest
Amenities: natural trail, mature woods
Address: 1926 S. 600 West, New Palestine

Mary Moore Park

Size: 8-acre nature park
Amenities: Mulched trails in a wooded setting, information markers that include plant and bird-life points of interest
Address: 951 North Franklin Street (near Greenfield Central High School)

Pennsy Trail

Size: 5.6-mile linear park
Amenities include: asphalt-paved trail for walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading
Address: Runs from 400 East to 150 West (south of and parallel to U.S. 40 and Main Street)

Riley Park, Greenfield’s most popular park.

Size: 40 acres
Amenities include: Paved walking trail and Brandywine Creek
Address: At the intersection of Apple Street and U.S. 40 (Main Street)

Thornwood Preserve

Size: 40 acres
Amenities include: woodland area with five hiking trails that range in difficulty from moderate to rugged, benches along the trails, native Indiana wildflowers, two creeks
Address: 1597 S. Morristown Pike, Greenfield

Observing COVID-19 Changes at the Parks

The linear Pennsy trail has gotten busier during the coronavirus pandemic, said Skye Mackenzie, assistant director of Greenfield Parks and Recreation. Still, it isn’t overcrowded.

But because of COVID-19, the Greenfield Parks department has changed a few things, including closing playground equipment and restrooms, he said. And department staff are telling park guests to be vigilant about staying six feet from each other—something the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As the world battles coronavirus, one of the best things we can do is to practice as many healthy habits as possible. And increasing physical activity outside is great for cardiovascular and mental health, as well as for bolstering our immune systems. So go ahead: Lace up your sneakers and cycling shoes and head to Hancock County parks once every day! And if you have questions we haven’t answered about Hancock County parks, contact Greenfield Parks and Recreation.