Beat the Winter Blues with Outdoor Activities 

By Cathriona Fey 
BAPA Community Outreach 

January is here and with it come the snowy, cold Midwest weather we all know, but may or may not love. Don’t let the drop in temperatures keep you from experiencing the many benefits of being outdoors. Improve stress levels, lower blood pressure and give your physical and mental health a boost by getting outside this winter 

Beverly/Morgan Park residents are fortunate to have the Dan Ryan Woods8700 S. Western, available. This 250+ acre forest preserve is part of the Cook County Forest Preserves system, with public trails that will remain open during the winter. Solo or with your bubble, BAPA is encouraging neighbors to bundle up, embrace the cold fresh air and try some of the following family-friendly and socially-distant outdoor activities at the Woods.  

CrossCountry Skiing and Snow Shoeing: Every winter, the Beverly Improvement Association (BIA) partners with Ald. Matt O’Shea to host crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing in the Dan Ryan Woods on Sundays at 1 p.m. when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground. Participants meet at Beverly Bike and Ski9121 S. Western, where equipment such as cross-country skis, boots, poles and snowshoes are available to rent for $15 for the day or $25 for the weekend.  

Sledding: The Dan Ryan Woods has hills perfect for sledding and will be open for sledders as weather permits this winterBring your own sled.   

Open Nature Play Days: The Cook County Forest Preserve District hosts open nature play times at the Dan Ryan Woods Nature Play Spacenear the Visitor CenterJanuary Play Days are Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Fridays, 12 to 4 p.m. Registration is required: Jessica.becker@cookcountyil.gov or 312-415-2970. 

Walk & Talk Hikes: Walk & Talk Hikes at the Dan Ryan Woods are for curious people who want to know more about the Forest Preserves and natural areas. These hikes are led at a slower pace with frequent stopping and interpretation. The next Walk & Talk Hike is Sat., Jan. 16, 10 a.m. Sign-up at wntdanryan.eventbrite.com. 

Looking for additional ways to get outside and beat those winter blues? Check out these outdoor ideas to brighten up the winter months. 

Walk to the PandemogramsThe Beverly Area Arts Alliance’s Pandemograms became a neighborhood favorite after the 2020 Beverly Art Walk was cancelled. Pandemograms will continue through January, exhibiting the work of local artists in storefronts throughout the community. Take a walk and take in the Pandemograms at the following businesses: Sports & Ortho Physical Therapy10909 S. Western; Horse Thief Hollow10426 S. Western; Connections Learning Center2744 W. 111th St.); Running Excels10328 S. WesternBookies10324 S. Western; Color Me Beauty Bar1810 ½ W. 99th St., and Tranquility9908 S. Walden Pkwy. 

Play at Our Parks: Beverly/Morgan Park is home to eight Chicago Park District parks. These parks remain open during the winter and offer plenty of space for some outdoor winter play. Get your quaranteam together for sledding, dodge snowball, tag football, relay races or snowmanbuilding in the parks.  

Plan a Soup Picnic: Dining al fresco isn’t just for a summer day. Grab your favorite soup and a thermos and head outside for a soup picnic!  

Take Your Workout Outdoors: Don’t let the cold weather put an end to your outdoor workout routine. Exercising outdoors has several benefits including improved mood, extra calories burned and a boost to your immunity. Stay safe using these tips from the Mayo Clinic: check weather conditions and wind chill; know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia; dress in layers; protect your head, hands, feet and ears; and drink plenty of fluids.  

Shovel for Neighbors: Kind is always cool, even in the winter. Increase your time outdoors and get some exercise in while doing a good deed. Offer to shovel snow for a neighbor, or contact BAPAbapa@bapa.org, to volunteer and help other neighbors with snow removal requests. 

Participate in BAPA’s South Side Snowman Contest: This winter, snowmen will be on parade throughout Beverly/Morgan Park for BAPA’s South Side Snowman Contest. Follow BAPA on Facebook or sign-up for BAPA’s e-newsletter at www.bapa.org for details and to enter your home’s snowman.