Learn to Move More
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VIDEO: 17 Miles of Biking and Hiking at Croft State Park
Croft State Park overview from MoreView Media on Vimeo.
Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the...
Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the heart of Spartanburg County, the park offers more than 17 miles of biking and hiking trails, a playground, picnicking and camping, as well as fishing and boating in two lakes, including 165-acre Lake Craig. The diverse park was once an Army training base and covers beautiful, rolling, wooded terrain that also provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna just five miles from downtown Spartanburg. Check out the video below then make plans to visit Croft State Park soon!
Don't Stop Moving When it Starts Raining
Sometimes getting everyone in the car to go to the park just isn’t possible. Sometimes, it rains for three days straight ...
Sometimes getting everyone in the car to go to the park just isn’t possible. Sometimes, it rains for three days straight and it seems like there aren’t enough activities in the world to keep everyone active and entertained.
It can be tempting to sit on the couch and watch TV or stare at a phone, but everyone will miss opportunities for active fun during the day. Here’s a list of things you and your children can do to stay sane inside!
- Scavenger hunt – Draw a map or write clues to lead kids from one room to another. Include as many clues and rooms as possible for maximum moving! We wrote a few to get you started.
- Hallway bowling – Use full or recycled water bottles to set up bowling pins at the end of a hallway. Stand at the opposite end and bowl down the hall. Kids can get bonus points for including a silly dance move while bowling!
- Dance party – This one speaks for itself. Get everyone moving with a catchy playlist. You can play freeze dance, pausing the music every so often and having everyone freeze in place, or choose a song and choreograph a dance, practicing until the routine is perfect!
- Hot Lava – An old favorite. The floor is hot lava! Pick beginning and end points in the house, then move from start to finish without touching the floor. Hop between pillows, couches, paper and anything else on the floor that will help you get there. Get creative and be careful!
- Obstacle course – Why sit in a pillow fort when you can climb over one? Set up an obstacle course using couch cushions, blankets, pillows, and anything else you can think of. Have obstacle course building contests and races!
- Yoga – If you’d rather some gentler exercise, or need a way to wind down after a more rambunctious game, free yoga routines can be found all over the Internet. Some sites even have videos geared toward children. Grab yoga mats or towels and get going!
- Cards – Play your favorite card game, with a twist. Each number in the deck is paired with a dance or exercise move. When you play an ace, jump as high as you can! When you put down a five, do a ballerina twirl! For easier to remember pairings, just match each suit with an active move. Play war, Crazy Eights, Uno, or whichever game is your child’s favorite.
A Short Guide to Hiking
A hike, however short or slow, is one of the best ways to get in shape while taking advantage of beautiful weather and scenery ...
A hike, however short or slow, is one of the best ways to get in shape while taking advantage of beautiful weather and scenery in South Carolina. Slightly uneven surfaces and mild hills are enough to engage all the muscles in your legs and core and give you a cardio workout.
Getting started can be daunting, but hiking doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. It can be a relaxing walk through the woods, or a fast paced trek from marker to marker. Whether you’re experienced or a beginner, keep these tips in mind.
- Ask your doctor first. If you have any preexisting conditions, old injuries, or if you have been inactive for a while, make sure to ask your doctor for advice on where you should start with exercise.
- Wear appropriate clothes. Cotton is not good at wicking moisture (sweat) and stays wet for a long time. Athletic and synthetic fabrics are great at wicking moisture away from skin and keeping you cool and dry. If it’s cool enough, wear pants to prevent bug bites and poison ivy exposure
- Wear comfortable shoes. It goes without saying that your feet will be doing a lot of work while you hike. Sneakers should be enough support for an easy to moderate hike, and hiking boots help on more difficult trails.
- Bring water and a small first aid kit – especially if you plan on doing a more strenuous trail. You’ll always need water during exercise, and some simple first aid supplies are never a bad idea when you’re in the woods.
- Look at the trail you plan to follow before you start. The Let’s Go! map can help you find a trail or park near you. Make sure the length is appropriate and that you’ll be able to get back to where you started. Both sctrails.net and southcarolinaparks.com have trail maps and information for you to check before you head out.
- Don’t overdo it. Start with short, daytime hikes. It’s better to get back to the parking lot feeling like a hike was too easy than to run out of energy in the woods halfway through. Start slow and short in terms of trails.
- Follow markers and stay on the trail, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. A fun day can be easily ruined by getting lost in the forest and having to call rangers to come find you. Note the color of the markers on the map (usually in the parking lot) before starting a hike. Also note where trails intersect and markers possibly change color. Be a responsible hiker and stay on the marked paths.
- Bring a buddy or tell someone where you’re going. Even if you’re only planning to be out for a few hours, it’s a good idea to hike in a populated area, take a friend, or tell someone where you’ll be when going into the woods.
Hiking is a wonderful way to see more of your home state than ever before. Share your South Carolina trail experiences and pictures with us on the Let’s Go! Facebook page!
Go Outside and Take Your Medicine
By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living
I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks back...
By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living
I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks backpacking in Colorado this summer. I hiked several sections of the Colorado Trail through some of the most remarkable mountain landscapes in the world. Nine days alone in high mountains allowed me to gather some perspective and fed my soul. The simplicity of living on a backpacking trip reduces the definition of needs to a minimum and multiple days out allows for the comfort of routine to set in.
I won’t say that my trip was a once in a lifetime adventure, but I won’t get to do anything like it again for some time for sure. I am grateful to have had the opportunity afforded me by my colleagues and especially my wife, and I tried to make the most of it by having more fun than I should be allowed to have. I’ve already bored my friends and colleagues with photos and stories.
I have always had a need for outdoor adventure, and I feed it on a regular basis. I run at Croft State Park two or three times a week, and with the Pisgah National Forest, Jones Gap State Park, Table Rock, the Linville Gorge and other amazing places within a couple hours drive, there’s no shortage around here of places to get away for a morning or a day or two.
Here in Spartanburg we have many places nearby to make even daily adventures possible. Besides Croft State Park, we have the Cottonwood Trail, owned by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE); several sections of the Palmetto Trail, our mountains-to-the-sea trail being developed by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation; the Wadsworth Trail on the westside; trails at Duncan Park, Glendale Shoals, along the Chinquapin Creek, and at the Milliken Research Center; many of the County parks have trails that allow for doses of nature. Even my two-mile bike commute to work gives me a microdose.
In some ways my sense of adventure is a matter of attitude as much as location. No matter how well you know an area, if you pay attention, you notice the little changes, like the rise and fall of the creek after a storm and the effects of the setting sun on the tree canopy.
Evidence is piling up—from the education, mental and physical health folks among others—of the value of being outside. Spending time in nature makes us healthier, happier and smarter. There is growing demand in Spartanburg and around the country for places for us to fill our prescriptions.
Partners for Active Living is proud to run at the front end of the field: we facilitated a shared use agreement between District 6 and District 7 Schools and the City of Spartanburg to open up schoolyards to their communities on weekends and in the summer. We coordinate new trail implementation to connect existing trails across the county. We work with schools to develop comprehensive wellness plans to effect health improvements in students, staff and families. We encourage getting outside through our bike-sharing and bike-lending programs, and promote healthy outdoor activity through events large and small.
Now go outside and take your medicine.
Ned Barrett is the Trails Coordinator at Partners for Active Living and works as a consultant to help other communities achieve their goals. To read more from Ted and to learn more about PAL, visit their site at www.active-living.org