Step Outside

5 places to embrace the outdoors in Tennessee cities

Nov. 20, 2018

Walking is good for you — this we know. But does it matter where you walk?

One recent study shows it might. People who walked through nature for 90 minutes showed reduced activity in parts of the brain linked to mental illness compared to people who walked through a city. Other studies have shown that walking in nature — or even just viewing pictures of nature — can improve a person’s ability to concentrate and problem solve.

In Tennessee, we’re surrounded by nature, which means we can take advantage of its restorative properties every day.

Here are 5 places where you can do that without ever leaving the city:

Chattanooga's Riverwalk

Chattanooga’s Riverwalk

The Chattanooga Riverwalk stretches 13 miles along the Tennessee River. The landscaped, lighted trail leads walkers, runners and cyclists to parks and scenic spots, drawing more than a million people to the river each year. The Riverwalk was recently expanded to connect the path to downtown Chattanooga, thanks in part to a $500,000 grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

Riverfit in Memphis

Originally intended to be a pop-up park, the Riverfit workout stations at Tom Lee Park proved so popular the city made them permanent. The park has two sand volleyball courts, a soccer field and six exercise stations including monkey bars, battle ropes and an obstacle course, so you’ll rarely find it empty.

Downtown Greenway in Knoxville

With 86 miles of greenway in Knoxville, you have options. The path stretches all the way from the riverside area to Sequoyah Hills and connects to World’s Fair Park. You’ll find people running, walking and riding it daily.

Miracle Field in Murfreesboro

The David Price Miracle Field is a special needs baseball and playground facility where children and adults can stay active in a safe, accessible space. Located in Murfreesboro’s McKnight Park, the field hosts players from age 4 to 53 who play 8 games per season and take advantage of the park’s other attractions, including gliders and zip lines.

Riverfit in Memphis

Riverfront Park in Nashville

Starting at the river and stretching all the way to Franklin, this route is great for groups — it has plenty of rolling hills but nothing too strenuous. There’s also a park on the east side where kids can play while parents walk, allowing everyone to enjoy the breeze coming off the river.

To find a place to get active outdoors near you, visit RootsRated.