Five Rivers MetroParks has launched a Heart Healthy Trails initiative to help people improve their physical and mental health outdoors. Three existing trails recently were designated as Heart Healthy Trails, with plans to launch an additional two trails in upcoming months.
According to the American Heart Association, just 30 to 40 minutes of exercise a few times a week will improve heart health. Additionally, exercising outdoors provides benefits traditional gym workouts do not, including a reduction of depression and stress, an increase in vitamin D and more.
Heart Healthy Trails make it easier for people to exercise outdoors because they’re:
- Easy to moderate
- 1 to 2.5 miles long
- Walkable at a brisk pace
- Marked every quarter mile to help users track their pace
“These are easy, entry-level trails on paved or flat surfaces without a lot of elevation change,” said Angie Sheldon, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “Signage on the trails also helps people start walking outdoors as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Each trail is a little different, depending on the location and length, so people can try them all or pick a favorite.”
The American Heart Association recommends walking at a brisk pace, working toward walking at least 2.5 miles per hour or 24 minutes per mile.
MetroParks’ Heart Healthy Trails are:
- Wolf Creek Trail (start at Olde Town Depot, intersection of Wolf Creek Pike/Main Street and Broadway, Trotwood): This paved recreation trail is marked every quarter mile, so users know when to turn around to get the distance they desire. The trail is marked for a 2-mile (1-mile out and back walk). Those who wish to continue along the trail can visit Sycamore State Park.
- Island MetroPark (101 E. Helena St., Dayton): This trail is a paved 0.65-mile loop around the perimeter of the park. Trail users will enjoy landscaped beds, views of the Stillwater River and “Ashzilla,” one of the biggest trees in MetroParks. Located near the parking lot, “Ashzilla,” is a large white ash tree. Walk the loop two or three times to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise.
- Germantown MetroPark (6206 Boomershine Rd., Germantown): Users will trek/walk new natural surface trails at the park. The Heart Healthy Trail includes portions of the purple, brown and orange trail loops, totaling 1.7 miles. Trail users can connect to Germantown MetroPark’s extensive trail system via the orange trial.
The Heart Healthy Trails are featured in MetroParks’ mobile app, powered by OuterSpatial, allowing trailgoers to easily navigate the trails, locate amenities and more. Download the app at www.metroparks.org/mobile.
Learn more about MetroParks’ Heart Healthy Trails by visiting www.metroparks.org/heart-healthy.