Take a Hike — To the Trails!
By Julie Viele, Public Health Program Representative
Julie Viele is a Public Health Program Representative with 8 years of experience working in Chronic Disease Prevention with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. She has been team lead for the Community Wellness Program for the last two years. Within Community Wellness, Julie’s focus areas have included physical activity, mental health and substance use prevention. Outside of work, Julie is a wife and mother of two that enjoys the outdoors.
One of the greatest parts of living in Greene County is the beautiful scenery available year-round. Having such picturesque views to choose from while deciding which trail to hike or park to play in is a privilege all of us can appreciate. There are over 3,200 acres and 105 sites in Greene County, which include neighborhood playgrounds, multi-use recreational facilities, natural resource areas and more.
My personal favorite trail is the Galloway Creek Greenway due to its diverse natural landscape, especially in the fall when the James River Bridge is at its most beautiful.
Having all kinds of trails and parks in Greene County makes celebrating National Take a Hike Day on November 17 much easier and more enjoyable! And it’s not only fun, but hiking (or just taking a walk!) has many health benefits.
As someone who works in public health, I really appreciate how being physically active can benefit someone both mentally and physically. For me, I use physical activity as “me” time where I can clear my head and reduce personal stress.
Being physically active regularly is one of the most important things you can do for your health. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control says that keeping yourself moving can help you in the long term and improve your brain health, help manage your weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do daily activities.
The word hiking can sound a bit daunting to say the least. A lot of us envision big mountains or steep cliffs. However, hiking doesn’t have to be like what you see on TV or social media where everyone has large backpacks and walking sticks. A short, leisurely hike through one of the trails found on the Springfield-Greene County Park Board or Ozark Greenways website can help encourage you to start getting more active. However, be sure and research safety tips for hikes just in case.
The CDC also tells us that a single bout of moderate-to vigorous physical activity provides immediate benefits to your health like improving sleep quality, reducing feelings of anxiety, and bringing down your blood pressure.
Both the long-term and short-term benefits of physical activity show us that what we do daily matters when it comes to our body. So, be sure and get up and moving on November 17 and make a difference in your health.