Trails as a path to health

Trails, greenways, river walkways, forest paths – all promote active recreation. Walking or biking a trail gets your heart pounding, floods your system with oxygenated blood, burns calories, and gets you pumped – leaving you invigorated, happier, and less likely to punch your computer screen due to slow internet speeds.

That is only one of the many ways that our Regional Trail System improves health. Here are three more:

1. Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds

All of the above reduces factors linked to obesity, diabetes, chronic illness, and a reduced life expectancy, especially in communities of color, which have higher rates of chronic illness and a lower life expectancy due to health risk factors. A daily, or even weekly trail-walk also keeps you from raging out on the road and teaching nearby children obscenities!

2. More Green/More Clean

Trails and greenways also preserve a swath of land that provides access to natural habitat – like the vicious trash panda. These swaths of green help to improve air and water quality, partially by preserving the natural habitat, but also – especially with regional trails – by providing communities with alternative non-motorized transportation choices (you know, like scooters, roller blades, long boards, bicycles, roller skates, those shoe wheelie things, and lazy recumbent bikes).

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3. More Trails/More Green$

These trails can become a focal point for communities to gather (I say communities, but it’s usually roving gangs of elderly walkers, who are very chatty and fun, and in no way am I scared of them). Thoughtfully constructed, trails can provide surrounding businesses with opportunities for economic growth and renewal, increasing surrounding property values, and providing much needed cycling tourism, because everybody knows cyclists are generous spenders (truth!).
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Safe access to outdoor activities creates desirable, livable, and walkable communities. By focusing our efforts to design and build trails in South King County, Parks hopes to bring those advantages to populations that historically haven’t had access to such beneficial amenities, while also providing the rest of the County’s residents with a greater variety of trails to enjoy. More trails for all!

Want to know how to best support trails in your area? Get out and use them! Plan trips on the surrounding trails using King County TrailFinder and go explore #YourBigBackyard!

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