Are you bored from your workout routine and tired of working out on the same gym equipment?  Many people can get stuck working in the same routine and can end up feeling like their physical health is a burden.  If you are stressed from your long week or need a little relaxation, you can make the West Orange Trail a part of your physical and mental workout.

The West Orange Trail is home to many runners, bikers, joggers, birds, trees, and woodland creatures.  The 22 mile, soon to be 36, paved trail passes through downtown Oakland, Winter Garden, and Apopka.  Stretching across miles of greenery, to urban settings, to the kissing shores of Lake Apopka, the West Orange Trail is a sublime location for your next run, allowing yourself to connect with your most peaceful self.  The West Orange Trail offers four main stations equipped with water fountains, restrooms, picnic tables, and playgrounds.  One station, the Killarney Station, offers skate and bike rentals, concession stands, as well as basketball and tennis courts.  Built on old railroad alignments, The West Orange Trail and its serene paths pass through restaurants and shops of downtown Winter Garden, then turn into mellow and dim thinly wooded areas.

The tranquil scenery takes your run on a euphoric journey incorporating a total awareness of mind and body.  Budding orange groves and elevating hills allow for your runner’s high to grow and heighten as you work your body into full performance.  Take a break, and explore the animals and natural wetlands at the Oakland Nature Preserve, located along the the West Orange Trail.  Shaded by the draped Spanish moss, run through the oak and pine, bringing your mind to full enlightenment.  The trail will bring you to the local landmark, the old railroad bridge.  This wooden bridge lifts your mind and body across I-75 leading you towards an unexpected section of the trail, the Briley Farm, where you can spot exotic animals such as peacocks and Watusi cattle.  The trail leading you from Winter Garden to Apopka, weaves around a golf course then follows a Buddhist Temple before leading you along an equestrian trail, to eventually a beautiful tree canopy, perfect for shade and meditation along your run.  The Tildenville outpost is home to a butterfly garden, bursting with lively colors from these charming creatures, exercising your mental health as well.

Running through the outdoors rather than a gym has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health.  Studies have found that the atmosphere of trees and grass lowered brain stress levels.  Richard Mitchell, researcher and professor at Glasgow University, claims “The brain likes to be in the natural environment and it reacts to being there by turning down our stress response.  Being in areas that have lots of trees and grassy areas help to calm us down.”  In this study, there was around a 50% improvement in people’s mental health if they were physically active in the natural environment, compared to people who weren’t.  The West Orange Trail is the perfect place to experience natural environments to provide nourishment to your physical and mental wellbeing.  The relaxing setting, the calming sounds and the vivid sights, offer a wide variety of exercise.  Your run won’t be a tedious chore, it will be an opportunity to connect your mind and body with nature, allowing you to gain positivity in your physical and mental health.

As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.