Whether your doctor has advised you to “get active” or you’re looking to improve your health, you may be wondering where to start. The phrase “active lifestyle” conjures images of daily weightlifting or intense elliptical workouts. But if that’s not your style, don’t worry. A simple walk has more potential than you think!

Studies show that walking regularly boosts your immunity, reduces your chance of breast cancer and arthritis, and promotes healthy weight loss. And in Marion County, Florida, you’re not limited to a treadmill. Here are 6 beautiful places to enjoy a long walk — and better health!

The College of Central Florida Campus

It takes almost 4,300 steps to walk the entire perimeter of the College of Central Florida. That’s about 2 miles, and you get to enjoy fresh air and beautiful greenery of the tobacco-free campus, plus the bustling energy of a thriving college!

For a shorter walk, circle the Health Sciences complex west of the University Center. It’s just over half a mile, giving you a nice 1,234-step boost to your daily count!

The Fields at Frank Deluca YMCA

The YMCA is a well-known fitness destination, but you don’t even need to enter the complex in Marion County’s location. The Frank Deluca YMCA is adjacent to two massive fields with walkable perimeters. Park in the YMCA lot, then get some fresh air and boost your step count!

  • The smaller field takes about one-third of a mile, of 686 steps, to complete.
  • The larger one is a full half-mile with 1,015 steps.
  • Circling both fields will net you two-thirds of a mile with about 1,250 steps.

With multiple routes available, the YMCA complex is perfect for both extended walking trips and step challenges!

Ocala Hospital Area

Ocala Regional Medical Center, HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, and AdventHealth Ocala are side-by-side, creating a diverse medical campus and critical hub for top-quality care. It’s also a great place to get in your daily steps!

Walk around the AdventHealth complex between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 1st Avenue for a nice 0.7-mile trip. You’ll log about 1,494 steps.

Or, circle Ocala Regional Medical Center and HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, which lie between SW 1st Avenue and SE 3rd Avenue. This walking trip clocks in at 0.6 miles for a total of 1,279 steps. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy several soothing fountains and some unique art surrounding the medical facilities.

Need a shorter walk? Travel NW 1st Avenue from the southern border of the AdventHealth campus up to SW 10th Street for a brisk 881-step trip. Or, make the circuit from SW 10th Street to SW 12th Street at the north end of AdventHealth. Either way, you can log about 0.4 miles for your daily walk!

McPherson Complex

For a brief yet rewarding walk, take a stroll between SE 25th Avenue and SE 26th Court. It’s just south of the McPherson complex, which houses Marion County’s Property Appraiser, Public Works, the County Commission, and the County Attorney. This block is undeveloped, giving you relaxing natural scenery as you log your steps!

Circle the entire block for a half-mile trip that amounts to about 1,150 steps. Each segment clocks about 247 to 328 steps.

Blessed Trinity School Complex

The Blessed Trinity School lies at the heart of a broad district encompassing the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, Angel in Arms Day Care, and several other facilities. It spans several blocks between SW 1st Avenue and SE 3rd Avenue, south of SW 15th Place. This beautiful area offers plenty of walking opportunities that you can customize for your daily step goals.

Circling the entire Blessed Trinity block will give you about 1,096 steps. Or, pass the area between the school and the church for a brisker 349-step walk. You can also stroll westward to SW 1st Avenue, then back again for an extra 500 steps or so.

Market Street at Heath Brook

Need to do some shopping? Don’t drive around the mall complex: park and walk for an energizing workout as you hit up clothing shops, department stores, and more! Market Street at Heath Brook has plenty of options to boost your step count. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Walking between Dillard’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, then back again, is 0.6 miles or about 1,209 steps.
  • Walking around the central hub is 357 steps.
  • Walking from Dick’s to the central hub is 264 steps.
  • Walking from Dillard’s to the central hub is 194 steps.
  • Or, circle the entire complex for a solid 1-mile trip (2,044 steps!)

Resist the temptation to drive from store to store. Simply walking around Market Street can add at least 2,000 steps to your day. If you need some fuel, there are several places to stop and eat!

Track Your Steps with AMP!

As you see, there are plenty of wonderful places to get active in Marion County! To track your steps — and compare your results to your friends and coworkers — download the Active Marion Project amp from the QR codes below. It’s called AMP2 in the App Store and Google Play, so you can track your steps wherever you decide to go for a walk! Learn more about the Active Marion Project.

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