The Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends 30 minutes of walking five days a week to get the full benefits of the exercise for the musculoskeletal system. We picked some of our favorite walking trails in Houston. Here are three of our favorite parks with walking/hiking trails in and around Houston.
Encompassing more than 4,700 acres of woodland park, Lake Houston Wilderness Park, located about 30 minutes north of downtown Houston off Highway 59, includes 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. This heavily forested park is home to a number of wildlife critters, so don’t be alarmed if you see a snake or two. While you’re at the park, stop into the Park Nature Center, where you can see displays of forest and wetland habitats, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.
Open Sunday to Thursday, 7 AM-6 PM, and Friday and Saturday, 7 AM-8 PM. $3 entry fee to the park for all visitors.
Memorial Park, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Loop 610, offers more than 30 miles of trails scattered throughout the park for running, walking or hiking. The trails twist and turn through beautiful scenery, some stretching over small creeks. The Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail is a 2.93-mile crushed granite trail perfect for walking. You’ll find restrooms and water fountains placed along the trail.
Open dawn to dusk. Free to all visitors.
If you’ve got little ones in tow, the 7-mile round-trip asphalt trail through the 7,800-acre George Bush Equestrian Park to the Harris County Precinct 3 Sports Park is both stroller- and scooter-friendly. The trail is lined with trees offering shade, and benches are placed at regular intervals if you’d like a few moments to sit and breathe in the fresh air. Restrooms and water fountains are located inside the Sports Park.
Open 7 AM-10 PM. Free to all visitors.
Although it’s not a high-intensity exercise, walking is known for its many health benefits, including its ability to help you maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart. What you may not know is that walking is also one of the greatest exercises for keeping your muscles and joints strong and healthy, making you less susceptible to injury and reducing your risk of bone-density related conditions, such as osteoporosis.
The benefits of walking for bone health include:
- Gentle on the joints
- Strengthens muscles
- Helps maintain bone mass
- Slows development of arthritis
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis
- Increases flexibility and range of motion
- Aids in circulation, which provides essential nutrients to the bones and joints
- Increases spinal stability
- Improves posture
- Helps reduce low back pain
The Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends 30 minutes of walking five days a week to get the full benefits of the exercise for the musculoskeletal system. Now that you know the benefits of walking, it’s time to get moving!