It’s a proven fact: physical activity improves health and reduces stress. Whether you walk, run, ride or roll, consistent activity reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and depression.
Southwest Washington offers numerous trails and recreational opportunities for people of every age and ability. Looking for inspiration? The following videos feature local trails. Some offer water views, others connect visitors to local history. All offer great opportunities to get moving in nature.
Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway
Multiple access points from 92nd Avenue to Steward Glen Park at Fruit Valley Road and Bernie Road map
Columbia Tech Center Park
17701 SE Mill Plain Boulevard, Vancouver map
Captain William Clark Park and Cottonwood Beach
SR 500 at 15th Street, Washougal map
Lacamas Park Trails
NW Lake Road and NE Everett Street, Camas map
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Evergreen Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver map
Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge
33501 SE Evergreen Highway, Washougal map
If you haven’t been physically active recently, ask your medical provider if there are any limits on your activity plans. This is important if you have medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or problems with your bones or muscles.
Start small. A 10-minute walk, run, roll or ride is a great start.
Add a few minutes each week until you are physically active for at least 30 minutes per day, at least five days per week.
If breathing is difficult, or you can’t talk while moving, slow down or take a break.
It takes only a few minutes to prepare for a safe and comfortable walk:
Pick a trail that matches your ability and accessibility needs.
Choose comfortable, close-toed walking shoes and socks.
Check the weather and dress appropriately. Layers that can be removed or added along the way are a good idea.
If it is sunny, pack a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
If it is rainy, wear or pack a slicker, rain hat or umbrella.
Got allergies? Don’t forget antihistamines or an epi-pen.
Always carry water, a light snack, a few basic first aid supplies and your cell phone.
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Going on a long hike out of cell range? Bring a map, a compass and carry a whistle and flashlight.
Optional accessories: insect repellent, walking sticks, and a pedometer.
Bringing a furry companion? Be sure they are welcome on your chosen trail. Pack water, leash and disposable bags for clean-up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity and 10 minutes of vigorous, aerobic activity per day, five days a week.
For greater benefits, that amount can be doubled.
Set goals and monitor your progress. Reward yourself for meeting goals.
Make it social! Enjoying activity with a buddy often keeps people active longer.
- The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition
- Ways to be Active
- National Institutes of Health Go4Life
- U.S. Department of Transportation Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative
- Partnership for a Healthier America