Adventure through Minnesota this spring

Ari Forcelle, Writer

Even with the crazy April snow storms in Minnesota, warm weather is around the corner. Soon it will be time to break out the shorts, sandals and sunscreen with the temperature in the high seventies.

Minnesota offers warm weather and beautiful sightseeing locations in the summer months. There is a never ending list of hiking trails, state parks and beaches to explore. Hiking and getting outdoors does not only improve the body but also the mind as well. Spending time outdoors is often linked with aiding anxiety and depression. Studies from the National Academy of Sciences have shown that being active in nature decreases negative thoughts and makes people genuinely more happy. When someone is in a bad mood, they should spend time outside because it might just change their perspective for the better.

Research done by the National Academy of Sciences gives examples of when a group of people hiked for over an hour in a natural environment, whereas compared to an urban environment, they were experiencing lower levels of rumination. Marilyn Rogers, a writer, said, “Researchers indicate that our world is becoming more and more urban and that urbanization is linked to depression and other forms of mental illness. Visibly, simply removing us from an urban environment to spend time outdoors where there are fewer mental stressors, less noise, and fewer distractions can be advantageous for our mental health.” Venturing outside can lead to not only physical but mental health benefits as well.

If one is looking to stay close to home, here in Owatonna, there are a few nice places to kick back and relax. One park families should definitely visit is Rice Lake State Park. Rice Lake has a huge lake for fishing and tubing and a campground to pitch a tent for a night or two. There are also trails throughout the park for morning or evening strolls that offer beautiful views of the lake.

Afton State Park is another state park in Minnesota that is not too far away from Owatonna. Afton is located in Hastings, Minnesota, which is a little over an hour long drive from Owatonna. This park is a great place to go to have a nice hike. Afton is located right on the Saint Croix river. There is a beach that is very secluded and surrounded by beautiful trees. It is an undeniably beautiful site to see.

When the delightful warm weather arrives here in Minnesota, get out there and boost the body and mind. Go for a quick hike or swim in the exquisite nature that surrounds Minnesota, and be sure to embrace it. There are so many benefits to spending time in nature, and it can be both physically and mentally relaxing. Minnesota has beautiful views waiting to be explored. Just remember to stay calm – spring is coming.