The state recreation department is encouraging people to get outside, through a free “We Walk the Woods” program offered locally every Wednesday.
“Studies show that diminishing light at this time of year can cause changes including decreased levels of serotonin (affecting mood) and melatonin (affecting sleep). Doctors suggest that one solution for this is to get outside during daylight hours, and exercise. Exercise alone can increase serotonin, giving a sense of well being,” according to a release from Barbara Buls, a Department of Conservation and Recreation regional interpretive coordinator.
People can walk in Harold Parker State Forest on the Andover-North Andover line every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Residents can meet at the state forest headquarters at 305 Middleton Road. Walks usually run form 10 to 11:30 a.m.
People are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear such as hiking footwear rather than sneakers.
“Feel free to bring snowshoes/skis on days with snow. This is a moderate hike appropriate for all ages. Children are welcome! Bring water and sunscreen on sunny days,” according to the release from Buls. The event is cancelled only in the event of heavy rain.
This community hike began three years ago and goes all year. The plan is to cover all the trails in the park. For more information call 617-828-1728 or visit www.mass.gov/dcr. This free program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Harold Parker and DCR.