Get Healthy Outdoors

June 17, 2016Farah AnwarNPF Blog

Our national parks offer numerous outdoor activities that are both fun and good for your health! The Active Trails program, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation, promotes healthy living by getting people of all ages out and active on the trails – whether hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, or even yoga and horseback riding.

People paddling on paddleboards on a lake under a waterfall

Paddleboading at the New River Gorge National River

National Park Service

Parks are bringing in new visitors to learn about the healthy activities and opportunities they offer to exercise in our national parks and the overall health benefits of exercising. Check out some of the great healthy activities parks offered through the Active Trails program.

At New River Gorge National River, the park brings a multitude of wellness programming to the community. The park trains volunteers to teach a variety of classes to the community including yoga, paddle boarding, bird walks, guided hikes, fly fishing, archery, mountain biking, aerobics, and tai chi.

Three paddleboarders paddling near a small waterfall

Paddleboarding at the New River Gorge National River

National Park Service

These free classes offer something for everyone and encourage people to come back for multiple classes and to try new activities! Additionally, the county in which the park has located has limited access to yoga studios and instructors and yoga classes offered by the park are increasing the communities access to not only yoga but other forms of healthy activities.

Canaveral National Seashore is a water-based park which encompasses 37,000 acres of diverse estuaries that are perfect for paddling on canoe, kayak, or a stand up paddle board. The park engages their volunteers, most of which are seniors, in their paddling program. The program provides a guided tour for visitors who don’t have their own boats while also providing educational sessions on safety and paddling technique as well as a new marked water trail.

Group of canoers paddling through Canaveral National Seashore
National Park Service

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway also offers healthy water activities. Partnering with its friends group, St. Croix River Association, the park is hosting 10 paddles during the summer to reach youth and families who haven’t visited the riverway.  The paddles will range in size from 10 to 60 participants as well as style including kayak, canoes, and even voyageur canoes and take place along different stretches of the 225 mile riverway.  Participants of the paddles will also benefit from health and wellness messages and activities that are incorporated into the paddles.  Check out some of the paddles scheduled here.

Youth and adult paddling in a canoe down the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
National Park Service

National parks are a great place to get outdoors and get healthy while also engaging in your favorite activity or trying something new! Next time you think about heading to the gym, check out your local park to see what fitness activities they offer. Help us support programs that encourage people to get outdoors and be healthy in our national parks.


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