Spring into Health!
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. Zechariah 10:1
As I am writing this it is 60 degrees outside and sunny. It feels like spring. As Minnesotans, we know that March is very fickle. Who knows? We may get a foot of snow next week. No matter the weather, we know that winter will be coming to an end at some point. Being outdoors is such a joy today. Most of us tend to “hibernate” during the winter months in Minnesota—not as many outdoor activities, being more sedentary, eating comfort foods, curling up under a blanket and watching TV. What will you do this year to spring into health? Most of the activities in this month’s article involve being outdoors, because what is better than being outdoors in the spring?
Start a walking program
Set some goals for yourself. You might start out with walking 10-15 minutes three times per week. Don’t stop there! Build up your endurance and walk longer and farther and maybe more times a week.
Invest in a good pair of walking shoes—they will be kind to your feet on your walks.
Walk with a partner. Taking a walk with someone can lead to great conversation and is great for mental health. Be sure to follow recommendations to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Change where you go on a walk. You can spend time walking around your neighborhood, different paths/trails around town. It is always great to see new scenery! https://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/parks-trails/maps
Plan a garden
Start thinking about if you want a vegetable or flower garden—or both. Working in the soil can be very comforting and all that bending and stretching are good for you.
Look at seed and flower catalogs. Even if you just plan to plant one tomato plant, there is a particular kind of joy that occurs when you look at those catalogs.
Did you know that you can rent a garden plot in Rochester? This is a great family activity or something a group of friends can do. https://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/rentals-reservations/garden-plots
Tune-up your bicycle
Set some goals as you did with your walking program. Start bicycling for short distances on a level surface. Work your way up to tackling several miles on a bike trail that contains hills.
Make sure that you wear a helmet when biking. There are a wide variety of price points out there. Helmets made for the U.S. must meet the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard, so look for a CPSC sticker inside of the helmet.
There are many bike trails available in Rochester and the area—take your pick. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/starter_kit/wheels.html
Go on a picnic
Gather up the family (while still following COVID-19 guidelines) and pack a picnic lunch on a warm spring day. https://www.experiencerochestermn.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventure/parks/
Choose healthy eating options.
Go to one of the great parks in Rochester. (Be prepared to bring your trash with you when you leave—you won’t find any trashcans in the city parks.)
Visit the Farmer’s Market
Are you looking for a way to improve your eating habits? There is no better place to start than at a farmer’s market.
Rochester has an amazing Farmer’s Market. It is currently being held indoors at Graham Park (Olmsted County Fairgrounds) and beginning the first Saturday in May it will be held outdoors. https://www.rochfarmmkt.org/
Talk to the farmers and producers about their produce/items and learn about their farming practices. You can also get tips on how to prepare the products. It is a great learning experience.
Summer and fall are the times when the market really shines. But there are still items to buy in the spring—meat, greens, plants, bread, cakes, pies, and much more.
Take a hike
There are a lot of great hiking trails around the area. Some of the trails are flat and relatively easy to navigate, while others can be challenging. Check them out to see which may better meet your needs. https://www.alltrails.com/us/minnesota
Check out Indian Heights, Quarry Hill, and Essex Park in Rochester. Hike/walk along the Douglas Trail. Take a short drive out of Rochester to Root River Park. Check out area state parks. My favorites are Whitewater and Forestville. If you want to venture farther, consider going to Duluth and North Shore. There are so many options, from the well-maintained one-mile Gooseberry River Loop at Gooseberry Falls State Park to the more challenging Carlton Peak Trail with its fantastic views of Lake Superior at the top.
Be sure to have good hiking shoes—for some of these, tennis shoes won’t do the job. Get a walking stick—it helps with balance and provides support when going up and down trails.
Stay tuned for some opportunities to get healthy with Bethel this year—yoga, biking, walking/hiking. Watch for more information in the e-news. It is time to spring into health! Try something new this year and have fun.