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Steps to Health: Lake Hefner

02 November 2015

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It’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of Oklahoma when you're watching the sunset from the eastern shores of Lake Hefner. The Bert Cooper trails looping around the banks of Lake Hefner offer not only spectacular views of sailboats meandering through the calm waters and breathtaking sunsets, they also serve as a wonderful place to enjoy nature while getting fit.

Located in Northwest Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner is a favorite among walkers, runners, rollerbladers and cyclists alike. The majority of the trails have two lanes for bicyclists going in opposite directions and a separate lane for pedestrians. Some sections of trail have just one combined pathway, but we found them spacious enough to not worry about dodging other trail-goers. IMG_1744

Tip: Water fountains are scarce along the Bert Cooper trails and are only operated for a portion of the year. Be sure to bring a water bottle so you’re not stuck without hydration mid-workout.

We took our pedometer along for a lakeside stroll at sunset. Walking at a fairly brisk pace, we covered over 7,000 steps in just over an hour, and made it back to the harbor and lighthouse area just as the sun was sinking in the sky. We parked in the public lots closest to the Britton Road entrance, but ample parking is available at Stars and Stripes Park (which has a great playground area for the kiddos) along Portland Avenue on the southeast edge of the lake. Wherever you park, you’ll be close enough to easily hop on the trails and get going.

Tip: Grab a meal and savor the view after your workout at one of several lakeside patio restaurants, including Louie’s Bar & Grill and Red Rock Canyon Grill. Look for healthier menu options that include fresh greens, lean chicken or fish, or seasonal veggies. 

The entire loop around the lake covers over nine miles, so we decided to just walk for two miles from our starting point and then turn around, for four total miles. Maintaining a brisk pace for half an hour to an hour works well for a productive low-intensity steady state (or LISS) workout, but you can mix things up by alternating walking and jogging, investing in a set of ankle weights to wear as you walk, or bringing your pup along to let Fido get his exercise in as well. The trails at Lake Hefner are a wonderful place for the whole family to enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the shoreline.

We want to see your Lake Hefner photos! Use #StepsToHealth on social media to share your steps with us.