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The health benefits of spring

by Liam Sharp March 26, 2021
The health benefits of spring

Spring offers people fresh ways to stay healthy after a long and cold winter

Winter will always hold a special place in Canadians’ hearts, especially because of traditional northern activities like skiing and skating, but the season’s harsh weather and shorter days can mentally and physically drain even the best of us.

With spring officially underway on March 20, people can finally wave goodbye to a long winter unlike any other. As the last remnants of snow and ice melt away in the coming weeks, a fresh open-air canvas will once more be at everyone’s disposal.

Amidst troubling times, it’s important for people to take advantage of the rejuvenating weather that is upon us and reap its rewards on our overall health.

The beginning of spring means the return of outdoor workouts

Fitness enthusiasts, who have been largely confined to home workouts for months, finally found something to look forward to when the Quebec government announced gyms would be permitted to reopen on March 26.

For those who are not so eager to resume regular indoor training in public spaces, spring will allow for several outdoor activities to start anew.

Running and biking will continue to serve as accessible and effective workouts that can be performed anywhere, anytime. Alternatively, golf and tennis, both of which saw an uptick in popularity last year as relatively COVID-safe sports, will again serve as viable fitness options for those who want to best shield themselves from the virus.

Finally, calisthenic workouts and yoga routines that require minimal equipment can now be performed outside, providing some much-needed variety to these exercises that often get tedious from home.

Spring can also have a lasting effect on one’s mental health

The “winter blues” is a common issue that affects people’s mood and energy levels that stems from the short and cold winter days, which can lead people to spend unhealthy amounts of time indoors. Over the course of a few months, the negative effect on people’s overall health can be drastic.

Mixed with the limited in-person interactions with family and friends in recent times, the strenuosity of this year’s winter on people’s mental health has been amplified. Fortunately, the warm weather, sunny days, and fresh air can help dispel some of these common problems.

Spring gives people new opportunities to alleviate mental stress by socializing with their loved ones. People who are less fond of working out can still reap the health benefits by simply basking in the sun with others and absorbing vitamin D, which can go a long way when climbing out of an extended wintertime rut.

More daylight means more time when we need it

Having to set the time forward may leave you waking up exhausted the following day, but the long-term benefits of an extra hour of sunlight easily make up for the minor drawback.

Humans are unconsciously inclined to rest when it’s dark and be productive when it’s light. As the spring steadily dissipates into the summer, the amount of time we get to spend in the daylight will only increase.

Being able to shed layers of clothes lets us feel the sun directly on our skin, which can have a long-lasting, constructive effect on our overall health.

 

Photos by Christine Beaudoin

Collage by Kit Mergaert

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