A good way to promote health for senior citizens is to get outdoors.
That is the belief of people at two popular outdoor walking spots: Blandy Experimental Farm and Sky Meadows State Park.
“We see a lot of seniors coming out to walk Blandy. I have people tell me frequently they enjoy walking Blandy,” said Steve Carroll, director of public programs.
Blandy Experimental Farm has quite a few trails, he said.
Several years ago, Carroll helped establish four new trails purposely for people to use to get exercise.
“We are all for it,” Carroll said.
The trails all begin conveniently at the front parking lot.
“They have an easy surface to walk on. They range from three-quarters of a mile to two miles,” he said.
The benefits of walking include increased circulation and respiratory rate, improved muscle tone, and balance. It helps manage various medical conditions, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and weight-loss efforts, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But Blandy Experimental Farm has more to offer those looking for outdoor exercise than just the four trails. Carroll said it has 700 acres that people are free to explore.
Another area outdoor spot for older walkers to consider is Sky Meadows State Park.
In August, the park opened the Sensory Explorers Trail, a .3-mile trail designed to engage everyone’s senses as they explore, including those who are visually, hearing and mobility impaired.
Ryan Selove, public relations and marketing specialist for Sky Meadows State Park, pointed out there are 22 miles of walkable trails at the park. He said they vary from easy, moderate and difficult.
“We have trails specifically that are very easy to walk,” Selove said.
He pointed out that not everyone who is older is looking for easy, though.
“I have seen people over 55 years old doing some difficult trails,” he said.
He noted a popular trail people love to get out on is the Piedmont Overlook Trail, a one-mile loop that has a beautiful view but at times can be steep.
“It can be steep but because it's only one mile many people do it. It’s accessible to a wide audience,” Selove said.
Someone looking for more level grounds may want to check out Corporal Morgan’s trail, the Hadow trail, or the Snowden trail, he said.