A Message From Our Director

A sunset view of a lake

The other day, I went on a great walk.

My schedule had me driving from Naples to Clermont, a Trail Town near Orlando. Along the way, I stopped at the new community of Babcock Ranch. The town had creatively built a trail all the way around a lake. In the parking lot, I grabbed my binoculars, changed my shoes and started out around the two-mile trail. After a long time on the interstate, it was nice to see people outside. There were a few anglers, a family tossing a frisbee and a couple walking a dog. It was evening, and “Sunset Park” was earning its name with a beautiful view of the water.  

My job requires a great deal of travel. The good part is that I get to visit many of the best places in Florida. The hard part is that it can be tough to stay active and make time for exercise. I try to take every opportunity to walk, bike or swim. In Florida, no one is ever more than 50 miles from a state park. Local parks and regional trails fill in the gaps, and the state is dotted with lakes and lined with beaches. Just making a pit stop to walk around a new place is movement that can help us feel better.

February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association says that 150 minutes of exercise a week can dramatically improve heart health and well-being. Older Americans — I am one — can benefit the most from this small investment of time and effort.

You can follow this link to find fun and healthy park activities near you. Making a difference for you or your family’s wellness is as easy as a walk in the park.


Eric Draper's Signature

Eric Draper, Director