The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens has offered its lush walking trails as the place to be for area children and adults trying to get healthier.
"All you have to do is walk," executive director Carlton Higginbotham said in a news release.
In partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation and the Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, the Arboretum will host the Healthy Trails-Step Out In Nature program to combat obesity. The kickoff event is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.
Studies show that by simply taking 10,000 steps a day, the average person can control their weight and reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 60 percent, according to the release. The average office worker takes 3,000 to 5,000 steps in a normal day. For most people, reaching 10,000 steps only means an additional 30-minutes of walking each day, according to the release.
Each of the Arboretum's trails has been measured in the number of steps it takes the average adult or child to complete them. Beginning at 9 a.m. on kickoff day, visitors can walk any trail, or combination of trails, and add up the total at the end of their visit to determine how many steps they have taken.
Other activities that day include guided naturalist tours of the Arboretum on the half hour, fitness walks, informational booths and refreshments.
Another component of Step Out in Nature is a fitness competition for Arlington-area public elementary schools, according to the release. Students will compete against each other to see which students and schools can complete the most steps on the Arboretum's trails between Oct. 22 and March 9, 2012. Students can register to compete and keep track of their steps at stepoutinnature.org.
The Arboretum is located at 1445 Millcoe Road. For more information, go to jacksonvillearboretum.org.