The health benefits of walking or hiking include improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, and prevention of heart attacks, colon and breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Physical activity also elevates mood and reduces anxiety. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that all Americans walk at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
Walkers at Carroll Creek Park, Frederick, Maryland, August 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Throughout Maryland's forests and parks, are many hiking trails over different terrain. The Appalachian Trail extends around 40 miles along South Mountain in Washington County. The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath extends nearly 185 miles from Georgetown, Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Allegany County. Popular hiking trails also are found around Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County, along Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County, and through Gunpowder Falls State Park in Baltimore and Harford counties. Baltimore City offers several hiking trail options, including the Gwynns Falls Trail and the Stony Run Trail, as well as trails throughout the grounds of Cylburn Arboretum.
Many Marylanders belong to clubs which sponsor walking events throughout the year. The Maryland Volkssport Association, for example, conducts events which are noncompetitive and family-friendly.
People strolling at Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, October 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The successor to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk is the annual Across the Bay 10K, which started in November 2014. The sixth largest 10K in the United States, it next will be held November 4, 2018.
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