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In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

– John Muir

Benefits of walking & hiking

Making physical activity a key part of your everyday routine is a fundamentally life-changing decision that actually makes all aspects of your life better. To help highlight the many health benefits associated with regular physical activity, ParticipACTION listed 50 ways that physical activity can improve your life. Click here to read them.

Walking is a great way of adding more physical activity to your week – it’s simple enough that any able-bodied person can do it, it doesn’t require any equipment (except for comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing) and it doesn’t cost anything!

Just like other types of weight-bearing, aerobic physical activities that get your heart pumping, walking has many health benefits, including:

  • reducing your risk of chronic diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes and some cancers) or helping with chronic disease management if you have a chronic illness
  • boosting your brain power
  • supporting your immune system
  • strengthening your muscles
  • reducing tension, stress, and anxiety, and enhances mental well-being
  • improving muscular endurance and flexibility
  • increasing bone strength (which can help prevent osteoporosis)
  • improves sleep patterns
  • eases the pain and stiffness of arthritis
  • boosts the level of HDL (healthy cholesterol) in the blood and reduces high blood pressure
  • improves energy levels and self-esteem
  • relieves and prevents back pain

Walking vs. Hiking

Walking is typically a casual activity that can be done almost anywhere, including road/sidewalks, parks and indoors (e.g. treadmill, mall or indoor walking settings). Hiking, on the other hand, is all about being in nature, in unpaved trails and uneven terrain. There is also some elevation change that usually comes with hiking. In order to hike safely, some additional equipment is recommended, including trail shoes that protect the feet and provide stability and traction, and a hiking stick or trekking pole for extra stability on rough trails. For more information on how to prepare for a hike, visit Park’s Canada’s website.

Physical activity recommendations

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend performing a variety of types and intensities of physical activity, including:

  • Moderate to vigorous aerobic (cardio) physical activities such that there is an accumulation of at least 150 minutes per week (brisk walking or hiking is considered moderate to vigorous physical activity!);
  • Muscle strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week (e.g. using your bodyweight, resistance bands, dumbbells or other exercise equipment); and
  • Several hours of light physical activities, including standing.

Benefits of spending time in nature

There are currently more than 400 studies that demonstrate the numerous health benefits that nature provides. The infographic below provides an overview of the findings.

Source: https://www.parkrx.org/sites/default/files/toggles/Health%20benefits%20of%20nature.png

Walking loops & hiking trails in Marathon

There are many walking loops and hiking trails to choose from that are suitable for most ability levels. Click on the title of each walking loop/trail for more information and to see a map. You can also click here to view an interactive map.

Walking Loop #1
Difficulty level: easy
Time to walk: ~ 10 to 15 minutes
Length: 1.76 kms

Click here view the interactive map shown above.

Walking Loop #2
Difficulty level: easy
Time to walk: ~ 30 minutes
Length: 3.4 kms

Walking Loop #3
Difficulty level: easy
Time to walk: ~ 30 minutes
Length: 3.2 kms

Walking Loop #4
Difficulty level: easy
Time to walk: ~ 40 minutes
Length: 4.4 kms

Penn Lake Trail
Difficulty level: intermediate
Time to walk: ~ 25 minutes
Length: 2 kms

Penn Ridge Trail
Difficulty level: intermediate
Time to walk: ~ 1 hour and 10 minutes
Length: 4.4 kms

Hawk’s Ridge Trail
Difficulty level: intermediate
Time to walk: ~ 1 hour and 30 minutes
Length: 5 kms

Peninsula Hill Trail
Difficulty level: advanced
Time to walk: ~ 45 minutes
Length: 4 kms

Painter’s Peak Trail
Difficulty level: advanced
Time to walk: ~ 1 hour and 30 minutes
Length: 5 kms

Lagoon Trail
Difficulty level: advanced
Time to walk: ~ 2 hours
Length: 6 kms

ParticipACTION - Wikipedia
The Step Outside Program was developed in partnership with ParticipACTION