February is American Heart Month, a time to prioritize heart health. Many outdoor activities lower the risk factors for cardiovascular disease including hiking, trail running, biking, and paddling. Studies have even shown that natural outdoor environments can be more enticing for physical activity and are more likely to encourage people to exercise for longer periods compared to indoor exercise environments.
The restorative effects of being outdoors also help lower high blood pressure, a result of stress and a risk factor of cardiovascular disease. The American Institute of Stress reports that exploring the outdoors – whether you’re walking, hiking, biking, swimming or camping – can improve mood and self-esteem while also increasing blood circulation to the brain. All these things lead to lower stress and an increased sense of well-being.
Paddling is a great low impact exercise that still provides a moderate-intensity aerobic workout. To maximize cardiovascular benefits, maintain a steady pace when paddling or alternate between slow and fast intervals, aiming to keep your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes and your arms moving rhythmically.
Join us this month for the Outdoor Florida webinar at 10a.m. on February 14th. We will be featuring guest speaker Mark Sees, manager of the Orlando Wetlands, for a discussion about how the property functions as a water treatment facility for the city of Orlando as well as a recreation space. For more information on how to sign-up, visit the Outdoor Florida Webinar Series webpage.
The Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) is Florida’s official document regarding outdoor recreation planning. The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) is kicking off the next five year cycle for the 2027-2031 SCORP and needs your input. If you have not done so already, please take a minute to share your thoughts by completing our SCORP survey. For more information about the plan and to review the previous SCORP, visit the SCORP webpage.
Last month, the National Recreation and Park Association published an updated report on the economic impact of local parks. Florida ranked second in the nation for number of jobs supported by local parks and recreation (82, 175) and second for dollars generated by local parks and recreation ($15.2 billion). For more information, view the full report published by the National Recreation and Park Association.
For more information on requesting a speaker, visit the Contact Us webpage.
The Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail (C2C) was conceived as an ambitious effort to create a continuous paved multi-use trail across the state of Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, the first state trail of its kind in the United States. It will span approximately 250 miles and is currently 88 percent complete. The trail will link communities between St. Petersburg and Titusville along its entire length, allowing residents and visitors to explore Central Florida by bicycle or foot. The trail is linking all or part of several existing multi-use trails and will be managed by a broad range of communities and agencies. The Coast-to-Coast Trail Alliance is coordinated by OGT. For more information, visit OGT's C2C Alliance webpage.
TheCoast-to-Coast Story Map Guide is the culmination of efforts to create a practical, adaptable, accessible mode for communicating information about the trail including wayfinding, alternate routes for large gaps, amenities and local information.
The initial scouting and mapping of the 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail (CT) was completed in 2007, but periodic updates are needed for a trail of this length and magnitude. For our latest map upgrade, we changed the appearance and scope of the 26 segment maps to make them clearer and more informative. For more information, visit OGT's CT segments webpage. We have also created a CT Story Map and a Suwannee River Wilderness State Trail Story Map.
With our sunny skies and active lifestyles, Florida’s residents and visitors enjoy exploring our numerous miles of trails. Trail safety is important, particularly where trails and roadways cross. We all need to do our part to protect one another and prevent accidents. Whether as a motorist or trail user, we have a shared responsibility to:
Look and listen.
Obey signs and markings.
Take responsibility for our own safety.
The Florida Department of Transportation and the DEP's Division of Recreation and Parks joined together to put the spotlight on this important topic by developing a Trail Safety Video.
Feel free to share or download the video along with the extra information found below ... and remember to AlwaysPut Safety First.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.