Stay Healthy This Summer!

By Taylor on July 10, 2014 in Blog

Stay Healthy This Summer

In 2010, Iowa was ranked the 19th healthiest state by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. This ranking led to the Healthiest State Initiative. By 2016, Iowa wants to be the healthiest state in terms of physical and emotional health.

One way to improve our health is by heading outdoors, whether that is walking, strolling, running, biking or another activity that gets you moving. Don’t know where to get outdoors? Iowa has an estimated 1,800 miles of multi-use trails that are available to everyone. Check out our statewide Iowa by Trail app release on RAGBRAI. This app will feature all of Iowa’s 1,800 miles of multi-use trails, allowing you to geo-locate and navigate your way anywhere in the state.

Trails provide a diverse opportunity for physical activity, for everyone, including individuals wanting an aesthetically pleasing place for an after-dinner walk, gifted athletes seeking a convenient place to train and families walking to spend time together. Trails can be a part of healthy living, which is essential for reducing common diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has been a leader in helping initiate Iowa trails since 1980. Unlike surrounding states, Iowa’s multi-county trails are managed by local rather than statewide agencies. These local groups often rely on INHF for technical expertise and statewide perspective. INHF has helped partners create over 600 of Iowa’s 1,800 miles of trails. Most are along former railroad corridors with easy grades.

Here are some of the trail projects we have helped with.

  • High Trestle Trail: 25-mile trail in central Iowa, connecting Ankeny to Woodward. Famous for the artistic scenic bridge west of Madrid.
  • Wabash Trace Nature Trail: Long-time trail from Council Bluffs to Blanchard (63 miles) in southwest Iowa. Famous for the Taco Ride.
  • Summerset Trail: 11-mile trail connecting Indianola to Carlisle. Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park is along the way. This lake is famous for its fishing.
  • Raccoon River Valley Trail: 89-mile trail in Central Iowa, from Waukee to Jefferson and Perry. Famous for its 70-mile loop.
  • Cedar Valley Nature Trail: 52-mile trail between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Famous for being one of the earliest trails in Iowa. Trail users can see restored historic depots and scenic views of the Cedar River.

To find a trail that is near you, click here.

To learn more about the Iowa by Trail app, click here.