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Happy New Year!

Long shadows of a tree without leaves. Awbury Arboretum
Awbury Arboretum is accessible by SEPTA.

Happy new year! As the calendar turns and the amount of sunshine keeps increasing, you might have made a New Year's resolution or two. One of my resolutions is to get outside more than I usually do. I absolutely love to walk and hike, and I sometimes get so bogged down in work that I just don't get to spend as much time outside as I'd like. Granted, I am happiest when I am outdoors, so I have a higher need than most to hit the trail.

If you are like me and one of your New Year's resolutions it to get outside more, you're probably looking for some quick ways to sneak in some sunshine. Spending time in nature benefits your body and your mind. Studies have shown that people who spend time in nature experience reduced anxiety and better sleep, increased creativity and focus, and a plethora of physical health benefits, such as lowered blood pressure. This article from WebMD has a quick overview if you need more convincing.

Here are some lovely spots featured in 60 Hikes with fairly easy, quick hikes for when you just need to get away from screens and look at the sky and listen to birds.

  • Manayunk Bridge Trail - The Manayunk Bridge Trail is a flat, urban trail that takes you up and over the Schuylkill River and I-76. It's a wide trail with nice views. It's got a parking area and is accessible by SEPTA.

  • Schuylkill River Trail - If you live and/or work in Center City, the Schuylkill Banks section of the Schuylkill River Trail is a quick and easy way to get some Vitamin D and sunshine. It takes you out on the river and gives you fantastic views all around.

  • Awbury Arboretum - This urban arboretum is located in the Germantown section of the city. You will feel like you are in the country when walking around Awbury. There's a train stop right at the trailhead.

  • Carpenter Woods - Located in the Mount Airy section of the city, Carpenter Woods is extremely popular with dog walkers and makes for a quick, woodsy jaunt. There's a SEPTA stop at the trailhead. If you dig on mushrooms, you will be in your glory, as Carpenter Woods is loaded with all kinds of fungi.

  • Pennypack - Located in the Northeast section of the city, Pennypack is a popular spot and is always bustling with people. You'll no doubt see nature (likely all kinds of birds). The gentle sounds of the nearby creek will help you immerse yourself deeper into nature.

Don't let the cold deter you! Getting outside in the Winter helps keep the blues away. Bundle up and hit the trail. Your body and mind will thank you.


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