Walk MD Day Guide: Trails, Green Spaces & Wellness Tips
Green Spaces & Trails on and around UMD
Launched October 7th, 2020 in honor of Walk MD Day
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped highlight the importance of walking as a critical aspect of human well-being, not only for transportation and access, but active recreation and exercise. So, get outdoors (even if joining virtually and at a distance) wearing masks, keeping proper physical distance, and following all the health protocols that we know are so important to Maryland’s recovery.
Oct. 7th marks the 6th Annual Walk Maryland Day with the annual theme - "Walk Towards Wellness". Walk Maryland Day is a call to action to promote walking for physical activity and improved health. Walk Leaders are the change agents from different sectors of the community who see the health benefits of walking and encourage fellow Marylanders to take time out of their day to enjoy a walk within their community.
Walktober Walkinar Series with MDOT: Throughout Walktober, join the Maryland State Department of Planning for their free Walkinar series of virtual panels and discussion sessions on how to advance walking and pedestrian infrastructure across Maryland communities. Panelists include state, local, and regional professionals from the transportation, health, planning, and tech sector. Sessions are at 9:30 AM on Thursday: Oct. 15, Oct. 22, and Oct. 29. Register today!
Green Spaces On Campus:
Our entire College Park campus is a convenient and easily accessible Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. There are many lovely gardens in our 1250 acre campus, including At the Arboretum Outreach Center near Stadium Drive and the Denton community, you can find garden-related events and activities.
- Find green spaces to talk to and around at UMD
- UMD Arboretum Explorer Map & Campus plant inventory map
- Gardens at UMD: some examples include Garden of Reflection and Remembrance at Memorial Chapel, the Peace and Friendship Garden near University House (image to the right), and others.
- Outdoor Art at UMD
- Food Gardens at UMD- Community Learning Garden, is not “open” now, since all food is donated to the Campus Pantry
- Pollinator gardens: Paint Branch Creek Pollinator Garden & Knight Hall Pollinator GardenTrails and Parks near UMD:
Fortunately, there are numerous safe and forested trails on, around, and near campus worth exploring!
Trails adjacent to campus:
- Anacostia Tributary Trail System - the campus is embedded within the extensive 29.9-mile trail system that spans across the Greater Washington Region.
- Paint Branch Trail- a 3.5 mile trail that runs between the Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park and Lake Artemesia (image to the right).
- Indian Creek Trail- connects Lake Artemesia to Berwyn Heights. From there you can connect to the Lake Artemesia Trail and the rest of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System.
- Trolley Trail- along Rhode Island Avenue down towards DC, 3.8 mile hiker/biker path. A permaculture garden resides on the trail in the Berwyn area.
- The Lake Artemesia Trail connects to the Paint Branch Trail, Trolley Trail, Indian Creek Trail and Northeast Branch Trail. Part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System.
- Northeast Branch Trail- begins at Lake Artemesia and runs south of Hyattsville. Goes Past The College Park Airport And Through The Discovery District And Riverdale Park.
The City of College Park has walking tours with markers at historic landmarks.
- Berwyn Historic Walking Tour
- Lakeland Historic Walking Tour
- Old Town/Calvert Hills Walking Tour
- UMD ghost tour: 14 Spooky Sites at UMD
Parks near campus:
- Greenbelt National Park (image to the right)
- Lake Artemesia
- Greenbelt Lake Park
- Bladensburg Waterfront Park
- National Arboretum and Aquatic Gardens (6 miles from campus)
Find Trails Near You:
For people who are at home (and away from campus), we could provide some tips on finding trails near them to explore (like alltrails.com, state parks, etc.).
Walking can keep you healthy: reducing air pollution while spending time outdoors to enjoy some sunshine, greenery and fresh air (great for our mental health as well as physical)! Eliminating car trips under 5 miles round-trip would save billions in health benefits thanks to improved air quality. Replacing half of these car trips with bike trips could save billions in reduced health care costs by increasing physical activity. (Source)
Check out the UMD Fitness YouTube channel for a 5 minute warm-up or cool down
Functional Footwear- Choosing the right walking shoe can help decrease the risk of overuse injuries that are common in walking (blisters and calluses).
- Walking shoes should be lightweight and provide good shock absorption.
- Consider the shape of your feet (width, length, and arch type) and the features most important to you.
- Purchase shoes at an athletic shoe store with professional fitters.
- Wear socks that you plan to wear while walking, and if one foot is larger than the other, purchase the shoe size that best fits the larger foot.
- If regularly walking it is important to change your shoes every 300-400 miles or when the outsole is worn. (Source)
Healthy Hydration- Hydrating before, during, and after exercise is important in maintaining adequate energy levels, supplying the body with life-sustaining water needs, preventing dehydration, and aiding in post-exercise recovery. It is recommended that women consume 2.7 liters (91 oz.) of water daily and men consume 3.7 liters (125 oz.) daily, which can be obtained from a variety of fluids and foods. Active persons must consume more depending upon the intensity, duration, and temperature of exercise climate. A good rule of thumb is to: (Source)
- Drink 17-20 oz. of fluid 2-hours prior to the start of exercise.
- Drink 7-10 oz. of fluid every 10-20 minutes spent exercising.
- Drink 16- 24 oz. of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
Stretches to keep you moving- Walking for exercise is a good form of both cardiovascular and muscle conditioning.
- Lower body stretching is essential for preventing injury and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.
- Focus on stretching major muscles used when walking are the muscles of the legs (calves, and upper leg- quadriceps & hamstrings), the muscles of the hips (ab/adductors, hip flexors & glutes), and the muscles of the core (rectus abdominis, obliques & spinal erectors).
Stretch pre & post walking, holding each stretch for 10-30 seconds each leg, while deeply breathing.
NatureRx@UMD is a new and burgeoning movement, represented by numerous individuals and units within the University of Maryland College Park community, who have come together with a shared passion for the many ways in which the landscape of our campus arboretum and other recreation spaces can heal and preserve the health and well-being of every person. Also recognized as healing spaces are the extensive network of trails throughout Maryland, as well as other natural areas within the Mid-Atlantic, including the Chesapeake Bay.
Walking as Sustainable Transportation:
One quarter of all trips in the U.S. are 1 mile or less, and yet most of these trips are taken by car. Car trips of under 1 mile add up to about 10 billion miles per year. If we all chose to power half of these short trips with our feet instead of petroleum, we would save about $575 million in fuel costs and about 2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. That’s like taking about 400,000 cars off the road each year. The total financial savings are even bigger — almost $900 million dollars — when you include savings on maintenance and tire replacement. Walk to a destination you are headed to, especially if it's less than 5 miles away (the store, cafe, etc.)! Source: What If We Kept Our Cars Parked for Trips Less Than One Mile? | US EPA