State designates five Cape Cod trails as heart healthy

Designation part of DCR's Healthy Heart Initiative
A little sign with a big green heart marks the beginning of the Ober Trail at Nickerson State Park in Brewster. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

It's officially fall--time for festival foods, Halloween candy and Thanksgiving turkey. Which means it is the perfect time to exercise and keep those potential party pounds off.  

Earlier this year, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) implemented the Healthy Heart Initiative. Under the program, 70+ trails across the commonwealth were designated heart healthy. Five of those trails are here on Cape Cod.

The program was started to get Massachusetts residents exercising and one of the best ways to do that is walking in one of the state's 158 parks. All of the Healthy Heart trails are approximately 1.5 miles or less with an activity level of easy or moderate, according to DCR.  Signs bearing a big green heart mark each of the trails in the program.

Here on Cape Cod trails can be found in the following state parks:

  • Nickerson State Park, Brewster - The Ober Trail begins in Area 1 at the amphitheater parking lot. It is a moderate trail, paved, measuring 1.5 miles. This trail is ADA accessible. See the trail map here.
  • Scusset Beach State Reservation, Sandwich - The Cape Cod Canal Pathway begins at Scusset Beach. It is an easy trail, paved, measuring 5 miles. This trail is ADA accessible.
  • Shawme-Crowell State Forest, Sandwich - There are two trails at Shawme-Crowell, the Tilly Turkey Trot Trail and the Ruth Walker Trail, both of which begin in the field between Areas 1 and 2. The trails are easy, unpaved and measure 1 mile. Neither trail is ADA accessible.
  • Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Falmouth - The Quashnet River Trail begins on Martin Road. It is a moderate trail, unpaved, measuring 2.5 miles. It is not ADA accessible. See the trail map here.

According to the American Heart Association, a recent study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California found that walking briskly can have the same benefits as running when it comes to fighting high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. The American Heart Association's Start Walking Now website is a valuable tool for locating healthy walks and logging your progress. The DCR's  Healthy Heart walks trails are in the site's database and can be easily added to the online tracker.

To learn more about DCR's Healthy Heart Initiative, sign up for updates here. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on