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Florida Department of Environmental Protection
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Ways to Stay Fit Exploring Florida’s Great Outdoors

Photo Credit: Sam Rosenbaum

As 2017 gets underway, it’s a great time to focus on a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, living in Florida is like having your own personal outdoor gym, so getting adequate exercise can be quite easy with hundreds of state parks and greenways throughout the state. An added bonus? You get to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty while doing so.

Below are some ways to keep your mojo going … and since you’ll be enjoying Florida’s great outdoors, you’ll probably have trouble stopping.
While you may have walked for miles in the confines of a gym, a hike among native plants and wildlife, while breathing in the fresh air and soaking up some sunshine is even better. Why not trade in the treadmill? Florida’s public lands offer a variety of trail options – through pine forests and hardwood hammocks, rolling hills, on dirt or paved trails, and even along beaches like Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

For those who seek the workout benefits of a rowing machine, miles of crystal clear springs, freshwater lakes and saltwater paddling trails accommodate kayakers and canoeists while offering scenic backdrops guaranteed to take your workout to the next level. Honeymoon Island State Park is a favorite feeding ground for many wading birds, including great and little blue herons, snowy egrets and roseate spoonbills.

Trade in the stationary exercise bike for the real thing and explore Florida’s paved and off-road mountain-bike trails. Like with the hiking trails, they wind through a variety of landscapes and rank from easy for those leisurely days, to some of the most challenging around. At Hillsborough River State Park, both hiking and biking trails await leading through more than 7 miles of nature trails. Or enjoy ranger-guided tours through Fort Foster State Historic Site, a reconstructed fort from the Second Seminole War.

As an added bonus, the price for these workout opportunities is next to nothing! Most state parks charge a minimal entrance fee – usually less than the price of a single movie ticket. And there are thousands of miles of greenways and trailways that don’t cost a dime to visit, with no lines and no waiting.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service maintains more than 700,000 acres within its national award-winning Florida Park system. So getting healthier is just a step, paddle or peddle away. To find your healthy outdoor lifestyle, visit www.floridastateparks.org and www.floridagreenwaysandtrails.com.