-bUILD A WALKING TRAIL

AT YOUR CHURCH-

Gravel path within playground.

This is an easy walking path the whole community can enjoy. In an area with few sidewalks, a walking path like this gives everyone a safe place to exercise, whether it is walking, running, or even rollerblading!

Messiah United Methodist Church  Vale, NC

Lincolnton County

Messiah United Methodist Church is overflowing with charitable deeds for their congregation and community. Their community garden has grown each year and provides fresh produce for a local food bank; their bee hives make it possible to sell fresh, local honey to community and church members; and their playground is open to everyone to enjoy. More recently, they have added a walking trail to their healthy living initiatives. Church land is flat and spacious, which made it easy to build a simple trail. Circling the perimeter of the church’s backyard, the trail loops around the playground and community garden so parents can keep an eye on their children while exercising.

 

The trail is basic: It’s a fifth of a mile loop made of finely ground gravel, and upkeep has been minimal. The trail is accessible to people of varied fitness levels, ages, and denominations, and on any given day, you can find families, church members, or people from town enjoying the trail.

Walking trails are a great way to help people get moving more.  Trails can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You can do it with or without trail marking. If you don’t have gravel, you can mark a trail with flag stakes, spray paint, or mulch. If you choose gravel, mark the area with flags or stakes or spray paint an outline in the grass before laying down the gravel. A wheelbarrow and a few short-toothed metal rakes will help spread the gravel in your designated area. You can map the distance with a pedometer or app that can measure distance. Churches make great locations for trails, as people feel safe in these locations and visit regularly. Once you have your trail, there are easy walking programs to help keep people moving! Try a prayer walk, a story walk, or a meditation walk to keep all ages of your congregation moving on the trail. Little stations around your trail can increase movement, feed spiritual needs, and encourage young readers.

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