Hiking to the top of the Southeast’s tallest waterfall isn’t just good for your soul — it’s good for your health, too.
That’s the basic message behind the Georgia State Park system’s new “Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge.” To help combat the growing obesity epidemic in our country, park rangers are reminding citizens that nature holds the key to healthy lifestyles through exercise and nutrition, and that outdoor recreation can be more fun than indoor exercise routines.
The new fitness challenge provides encouragement for people making New Year’s resolutions to become healthier. TonsofFun.org helps Georgians create an online profile to track their progress. A trainer and nutritionist are available to answer questions online, and celebrity chefs created healthy picnic recipes. The website also includes an event calendar with activities such as healthy cooking demonstrations and guided hikes.
Georgia’s State Parks provide a wide range of options for exercise. Hikers, bikers and even equestrians can choose from dozens of trails, ranging from easy to difficult.
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Paddlers can explore lakes, streams and even the Okefenokee Swamp. During summer, families can burn calories at lakeside beaches and swimming pools. The parks also offer more unique recreation such as disc golf and geocaching. The state parks, which are a division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, are also partnering with the Department of Agriculture on its “Georgia Grown” initiative.
The agencies are combining resources to encourage citizens to buy locally and eat healthy meals. Future plans include partnering with animal shelters so that hikers can take dogs for walks, and exercise programs for veterans and senior citizens.
To learn more about Tons of Fun and ways to get fit in Georgia’s great outdoors, visit TonsofFun.org or GeorgiaStateParks.org.