Cat Lake: Discover nature, Find peace, Celebrate life

In the northeast corner of Harmony, at the end of Five Oaks Drive, you’ll find a rustic wooden gate and a footpath leading to Cat Lake. Follow it and within five minutes you’ll discover one of Harmony’s most pristine natural wonders. A majestic copse of live oaks springs up from the shoreline like a welcome sign as you walk up. The 460-acre freshwater lake and surrounding wetlands are completely natural. No playgrounds, no boardwalks, no restrooms – Mother Nature in all of her glory. Come solo or bring your tribe. Either way, let Cat Lake inspire you to get outdoors and soak in the good vibes. A Wealth of WildlifeBecause Cat Lake is undeveloped, its waters and the surrounding wetlands are brimming with animals. They live among the thick tree canopies and dense patches of knobby cypress knees that ring the lake. Bring a pair of binoculars and increase your chances of spotting wild turkeys, red-shouldered hawks, white-tailed deer, armadillos, otters, and even alligators – all natives to our state. Don’t be surprised if you come across a cottonmouth or pygmy rattlesnake – two of the six venomous snake species found in Florida (and in Harmony!). Don’t worry, just be aware and stay cautious. Steer clear of all the wildlife, and don’t feed them either! Never feed wildlife. It not only violates certain laws, it’s dangerous to animals, people, and property. Cat Lake and nearby Buck Lake (which has wooden boardwalks, fishing piers, and passive boating) are part of Jug Creek Swamp. The two lakes also connect with the town’s residential ponds, thus making Harmony part of a larger...

Getting out to walk, run or boat does your body good

Whether you are into boating, biking, walking or running, regular physical activity is good for your mind and body.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control  lists 8 benefits from even moderate-int ensity aerobic activity, including improving your ability to do daily activities and living longer. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity to prevent heart disease or stroke. However, if you are just starting a fitness routine or picking up from a long absence, most experts recommend a slow approach to prevent injury and maintain interest in daily activities.  Instead of diving into 30 minutes of daily activity, the Harvard University School of Public Health recommends starting slower with a less-intense workout routine. Weight gain is often associated with the lack of daily physical activities, but that’s not the only consequence. Here are 10 reasons why a less-than-active lifestyle can be hazardous to your health. Even a moderate level of active is better for you that just sitting around the house, regardless of your age. A sedentary lifestyle has greater consequences than obesity and exercise can reduce the risk of death by as much as 30 percent. A recent study also linked inactivity to changes in how the brain functions. So, if even a moderate level of activity will improve of physical and mental health, why doesn’t everyone participate in some type of exercise program? The short answer is that it’s too easy to make excuses for not getting out and walking, biking, boating or running. If you are constantly coming up with excuses to avoid a workout routine, here are 6 tips on to...