Longer, lighter days are nature’s idea of a wake-up call. After spending more than a few winter hours snuggling under a comforter, the additional daylight hours signal that it’s time to shape up.
Spring Marching Orders
To counter the effects of winter hibernation, you may want to incorporate more exercise into your routine. Longer days luckily mean more opportunity to walk outside.
“As the snow and ice melt, low-impact exercises, such as cycling, swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, walking, and hiking will not only help give you an effective cardiovascular workout but will also stimulate your senses,” said Dougherty. “If you prefer exercising indoors, the elliptical versus the treadmill is best for long term. Lastly, yoga is also an excellent way to incorporate a light cardiovascular workout while strengthening and stretching muscles and improving joint flexibility.”
Strength training is also important, and weight-bearing exercises may be the most effective way to firm and tone your body. “The ideal body we are all looking for really comes from weight training,” said Anthony Covello, owner of The Ridge Gym in Stone Ridge and 28 West Gym in Woodstock. “People who don’t include weight-bearing exercises are really spinning their wheels. They may lose weight and still have the exact same proportion as before.
Covello suggests starting weight-bearing exercises with some training sessions. “Start with a certified personal trainer to learn how to do things the right way, to prevent injuries, and to maximize effectiveness. Those who do five training sessions when they first start are twice as likely to keep it up,” he said. Ideally, it’s important to keep up strength training throughout the year to prevent injuries and help fight osteoporosis. If you have not exercised in a while, be sure to start slowly to prevent injuries.
Busier spring schedules can mean more stress. Not coping with that stress can sabotage your best efforts. When a person experiences stress, their body releases the hormone cortisol. This important hormone helps people cope with fight or flight situations, but a chronic output can interfere with a person’s metabolism, says Tecchio. And feeling stressed can make it more difficult to enact any positive behavior modification efforts.
Tecchio recommends stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, and exercise to help regulate the stress response.
D Levels May Need A Spring Boost
Staying inside during the colder months lowers vitamin D levels, and you may want to discuss this possibility with your physician. “For some people, especially in our northern climate, vitamin D levels can drop during the winter and low levels contribute to fatigue and muscle weakness,” said Dougherty. “You may want to get your vitamin D level checked by your health practitioner and take supplements if needed.” Spending more time outside can increase your vitamin D intake. You can also add foods rich in vitamin D to your diet, such as mushrooms, tofu, wild salmon, tuna, cheese, and fortified milk.
This article was originally published at Visit Vortex: