Did you know Iowa has more than 70 state parks? Iowa State Parks celebrated their centennial in 2020. Didn’t make it to the celebration? That’s okay! The Iowa Department of Natural Resources still has “20 Walks in 2020” mapped routes, www.iowadnr.gov, to help you explore 20 of Iowa’s state parks. These routes are ideal for one or a small group or family.
Iowa By Trail is an app providing interactive maps for 2,000+ miles of Iowa trails. Users can fnd the closest trail to their current position. The app also provides other points of interest along the route, including museums, natural resources, and local restaurants.
What are you waiting for? Get out and walk or bike the trails this summer! You can also enjoy these other activities in Iowa parks:
We have heard a lot about the benefits of walking, but sometimes it seems boring to walk the same route all the time. There are ways to make it more interesting for everyone. Examples include the following:
Research community history and explore it on a walk.
Have you wondered about an interesting house or building in your community? Check with your local public library; they may have information about community history.
Another idea is to listen to a podcast or an audiobook on your walk. There are many interesting podcasts—some are educational, inspiring, or entertaining. Audiobooks are also available through most public library apps, including Libby and Overdrive, as well as paid services.
Keep these safety tips in mind when walking:
Let someone know where you are going.
Take a cell phone.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Take a walking buddy for companionship.
Keep the volume of your headphones at a reasonable level so you can hear others, cars, etc.
Winter wind, snow, and ice can be scary to walkers. Even a short stroll is hard. Strong winds and icy sidewalks can make you fall and freeze your nose.
How to enjoy good winter walks without getting hurt:
Check the wind chill before you go outside. It should be more than 10°F. You can get frostbite in 30 minutes when the windchill is -18°F!
Equip yourself for the weather. Bundle up. Bulky clothing could break a fall.Walking poles help gain traction on snowy ground.You can wear shoes with studded soles or boots with grooved soles. You could buy elastic slip-on snow cleats. They are like snow tires for your feet! (Take the cleats off when you go inside. They can make you slip on inside floors.)
Fewer than 50% of Americans meet the minimum guidelines for moderate physical activity. Walking is the easiest and most affordable way to correct this problem. Walking can be done anywhere; all you need is shoes. Walking can be done easily and has huge benefits. Walking can be done by taking short breaks during the day; it doesn’t have to be one long walk. For example, three 10-minute walks during the day will count as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for the day. Keep your pace brisk (3 miles per hour) to meet the moderate physical activity recommendations. Take your first step today!
Do you sit at a desk for prolonged periods during the day? If so, try deskercising to reduce the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time. Deskercise includes 20 short bouts of cardiovascular, strength, and stretching exercises that can be performed at your desk throughout the day. To download a free poster—Deskercise! 20 Ways to Get Moving While You Work—from The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD).
Other ways to get moving at work include the following:
Take a quick walk around the office every time you need a refill of coffee or water.
Instead of emailing your coworker a few offices down, get up and go converse in person.
One of the joys of fall is walking, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors among the beautiful fall foliage. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website, fall color peaks progressively later the farther south you go in Iowa. In general, the northern third of the state typically peaks the last week of September through the second week of October. The central third has peak foliage color the first through third weeks of October, and the southern third of the state peaks in color the second through fourth weeks in October.
For specific 2018 information on Iowa fall colors, call the Iowa Fall Statewide Conditions (515-233-4110) or access the Weekly Fall Color Report from the Iowa DNR.
Fall is upon us. Out with the humid scorchers and in with the crisp fall air. Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the weather with some fun seasonal activities. Being active increases your ability to prevent simple infections, just in time for cold and flu season! As you enjoy fall and prepare for winter, give these seasonal fitness activities a try.
• Plan a backyard holiday football game.
• Sign up for a 5k walk or run.
• Grab a friend or family member and go for a brisk walk.
Don’t like the cold? Explore some inside activity options like a spin (cycling) class or a new aerobics class at your local fitness center.
The American Heart Association says that a 30-minute walk a day can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, and Type-2 diabetes.
The following tips can help you start walking with maximum safety and the most success.
Talk to your doctor. Consult a health care professional before starting a workout routine if you are not physically active.
Wear appropriate attire. This includes supportive shoes, good socks, breathable active wear, and a hat or cap to shield you from the sun or keep your head warm.
Remember to stretch. Avoid sore muscles and injury by stretching before and after you walk.
Start slow. Progressively increase the intensity and length of your walking regimen over time.
Plan a route. Use www.mapmywalk.com or another similar website to plan a walking route. There are also many free online walking videos that can be used indoors with no equipment other than shoes such as START! Walking at Home American Heart Association 3 Mile Walk (www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuw4f1c4xs).
Studies show that individuals are more physically active if the environment provides them with opportunities to do so. Examine your neighborhood, workplace, or school to identify ways to make your surroundings more inviting for walking or exercise. Here are four ideas to consider:
Start a walking group in your neighborhood or at your workplace.
Make the streets safe for exercise by driving the speed limit and yielding to people who walk, run, or bike.
Participate in local planning efforts to develop a walking or bike path in your community.
Share your ideas for improvement with your neighbors or local leaders.