Spring is just around the corner and, for many of us, it’s a long awaited reprieve from winter. So, why not make the most of this time of year (and the upcoming summer months) by focusing on staying healthy? Here are a few tips to help you have a healthier, happier spring!
Eat Healthy Foods
How often have you read something like “look great in the next 6 weeks” or “8 weeks to that summer body”? The reality is that those diet programs tend to fail, simply because they are built on the premise that the changes to your nutrition are temporary (and quite restrictive).
Instead, try shifting your perspective. Eating healthy, nutritious food isn’t a punishment, but something positive for you. Some easy steps include cutting out processed sugar (this includes sweeteners), simple carbohydrates (white bread, pastas, etc.), and cheese from cows (why not try goat, sheep, or even a plant based cheese?). A good rule of thumb is to shop on the periphery of the grocery store. That’s where all the fresh produce, meats, and fish are. The less you can eat that’s packaged, the better you’ll feel!
Remember: Anything in excess, even if it is healthy, can be bad for you! A banana is healthy (and yummy, seriously), but maybe eat half of a banana, not 3 bananas!
Drink More Water
This might seem fairly straightforward, but do you know how much water you drank yesterday? How about today? - and no, the coffee you had this morning doesn’t count! In general, we should be drinking between 2 and 3 liters of water per day (3 for men, 2 for women).
The amount that your individual body needs can vary. Exercise, temperature, and your health all have an effect on how much water you need to take in during the day.
Tired of water? You can add some lemon, lime, or other fruit to your water to give it some flavor. Rehydrating after your new spring exercise routine? You can even add a little salt to your water to help replace what you lost while sweating.
While you're at it, try using a reusable bottle instead of a single-use plastic one!
Wake Up Early
Some of you may have read that one and thought, “Ouch! I don’t want to do that!”. Waking up early (once you get into the habit) can be really great! Think about what you can do with that extra bit of time that you previously spent sleeping? Maybe you exercise, make a healthy breakfast, or even spend some time meditating!
If you are a "snoozer" (someone who snoozes the alarm for 30 minutes), try putting your alarm in another room so you need to get out of bed to turn it off!
Start an exercise routine
A regular exercise routine has tons of benefits, but some of the biggest ones are...
Exercise makes you happy! When you engage in physical activity, your body releases a cocktail of feel good hormones - endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, BDNF, and dopamine. All those together are why you feel happy after training!
Training can be a great social activity - going to the gym, joining an exercise class, or even getting a personal trainer! You won't just be staying active, but you'll be spending time with other people who have similar goals as you!
Improved bone density
Let’s get to the point first: building muscle is a good thing (we promise!). That doesn’t mean you need to get out there and start bodybuilding. When your bones need to carry more weight from your muscles, the bone density increases. Good bone density means you have stronger bones (which is always a good thing).
While you can never outwork bad nutrition, exercise can help you control your weight by making it easier for you to enter in a caloric deficit (and ultimately not exceed what you should be eating each day).
Try starting with a friend or exercise group - it's not only a bit more fun, but helps you stay accountable.
Dust Off Your Bike
Headed to work? Grocery store? Cinema? If it’s close enough (and the weather is nice), try commuting by bike! You’ll get some much needed outdoor time and exercise at the same time (not to mention, you’ll be cutting down on the traffic!).
Remember to practice good bike safety: wear a helmet, make sure you have a front and rear light, and wear a reflective vest at night for visibility.
Go For a Walk
Taking a walk or two during the day is an easy way to move in an otherwise sedentary society. According to an article published by Forbes, the average office worker is sedentary for up to 15 hours per day. Yes, you read that correctly, 15 hours! Short of changing your job, going for a walk every few hours can be a good way to break up that time.
Try setting an alarm to remind yourself to take your walks.
Reconnect With Friends
If you have spent the winter curled up in the house (and trust us, no judgement here...it’s warm in the house), now is the time to get out and reconnect with friends! With the warmer temperatures, it’s a great opportunity to stretch those social muscles!
You could organize a picnic to take advantage of the warmer days!
Wear Your Sunscreen
You are likely going to be spending more time outdoors, and less of it covered up in a jacket. It’s fantastic to spend that time in the sun, but don’t forget to protect yourself with sunscreen!
Put sunscreen on before you go outside, and remember to reapply!
Declutter Your Life With Some Spring Cleaning
We all accumulate things. Ever look around your house and think, “Wow, how do I have so much stuff?”. Don’t worry, we have all been there. Spring cleaning can feel pretty great! Go ahead and clean out the closet with clothes you don’t wear anymore or go through the garage and get rid of that old box of miscellaneous stuff you have been keeping for the last ten years (just in case you might need something out of it).
Instead of throwing it out, find a local charity to donate to.