Fall is arguably the best time to get outdoors and enjoy physical activity. Autumn weather seems to create in us the urge to stir about for various reasons. The air is charged with the odors of the autumn season and one can feel and smell nature in its natural rotation. While squirrels are storing food for the winter, maybe we as humans are seeking a little food for the soul, stocking up for the coming gray winter days that will keep us housebound too long. So, what better way to get into step with fall than trying to stay a few steps ahead of the winter chill and get some outdoor activity.
Hiking is wonderful exercise, and to promote public health and wellness, the Oklahoma State Parks division of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation has created Heart Healthy Trails. Consisting of 12 easy-to-walk park trails, this initiative will inspire folks wanting to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
Trailheads describe the length of the trail and distance markers are provided along the way. Distance markers are placed at one-quarter mile intervals along a Heart Healthy Trail. Along the way, you will find a pamphlet containing a trail map, a walking log to help the park guest to track the date, distance and time of day they took their walk.
The pamphlet also lists the state parks currently offering Heart Healthy Trails and invites the participant to provide feedback about this wellness initiative. Both the trailhead signage and pamphlet encourage people to make walking a part of their weekly routine. The Heart Healthy Trail signs and distance markers were purchased with a grant from the Telligen Foundation.
Health Healthy Trails can be found in the following places: Alabaster Caverns, Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park, Boiling Springs State Park, Great Plains State Park, Great Salt Plains State Park, Fort Cobb State Park, Foss State Park, Lake Murray State Park, Lake Texoma State Park, Lake Thunderbird State Park, Lake Wister State Park and Roman Nose State Park.
More information about the Heart Healthy Trails can be found on the official website of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, www.travelok.com.
While on the website, you will find information about fall hiking around Oklahoma, too. A variety of hiking paths offer benefits regardless of your skill and experience level — from beginner, intermediate and expert.
Anywhere you want to hike this fall will provide an exciting outdoor experience. Be sure and take advantage of the Heart Healthy Trails around the state, too. They all provide a good, healthy portion of the food for your soul that will get you through the coming winter.