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Column: Stay active, engaged, healthy this summer

We had a late start, but summer is finally here. This is the time to get you and your family outside and enjoy all of the healthy activities and foods that Goodhue County has to offer.

Do something physically active

Goodhue County has an abundance of trails that allow us to experience the beauty of the bluffs and river landscapes.

Some trails are fairly well known. like the Cannon Valley Trail, but both the Pioneer Trail and Douglas Trail can be accessed from Zumbrota and Pine Island and offer beautiful scenery as well. Even our smaller cities of Goodhue, Wanamingo and Kenyon have walking trails, some are paved and others mowed for citizens to enjoy.

There are over 50 parks within the county and over 21 of those parks have walking/hiking paths and about the same number have play structures.  Chances are you live within walking distance and most of the parks are free, so get out and just be active!

Eat local fruits and vegetables

Farmers markets are available in Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Pine Island and Zumbrota.

The Red Wing Farmers Market just started accepting electronic benefit transfer or EBT cards, so if you receive SNAP (food stamps), you can use your card to purchase locally grown food.

Buying food from your farmers markets is a great way to support local farmers and producers. Farmers markets are also great fun for your children, as the markets are outside and often have other activities for children available. 

More importantly, freshly picked fruits and vegetables are often the most flavorful and have the most nutrients, so plan your visit this summer as the growing season only lasts through early fall.

Go to summer time festivals, parades and celebrations

This is a great time to participate in all of the activities that take place within our communities.

Every town within the county has at least one summer festival and many of them have multiple celebrations. While it is too late to enjoy the Covered Bridge Festival in Zumbrota and the Volksfest in Goodhue, there is still River City Days in Red Wing, the Classic Car Show in Pine Island and the Cannon Falls Wine and Art Festival. And don’t forget about Goodhue County Fair in August. 

When you get involved in community activities, you are more likely to care about your community and invest your time and efforts into improving your community. So, check out your local newspaper, radio, website or social media sites to find out what is happening in your town and go. Better yet, invite your neighbors to go with you.

Take some time to yourself and relax

Summer has historically been a time where we take time to sit on our porch, drink a glass of ice tea and put our feet up. But how many of us are still doing this?

Since many of us are working, days off seem to be filled with errands, yard work, household duties and the 24/7 life that is available by being online, from -mail, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin … by the time we get to relax, we are too tired.

Seriously, summer is the time to unplug yourself and focus on your family, friends, a great book or just listening to the noises around you.

 Do it today. You will find you will be able to come back, work better and smarter.

Have a great, healthy summer right here in Goodhue County!

 Nina Arneson, Goodhue County Health and Human Services Director