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


Curfew poses a new challenge for student athletes

Stingers athletes are continuing to face obstacles during the pandemic

Despite not playing this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Concordia Stingers athletes are still doing the best they can to stay active. At first, things weren’t that bad, as they could still gather in small groups at the gym or the Stinger Dome, while respecting health measures such as maintaining a two-metre distance between athletes.

However, since the implementation of red zone restrictions last fall, things got more complicated. Stingers coaches started to use Zoom as their main way of communicating with their teams. Workouts were still done in groups, but virtually. The best those Stingers could do was perhaps go out for a run with a teammate, while ensuring both run at an acceptable distance from each other. Stingers athletes’ backyards and neighbourhoods weren’t necessarily the perfect places to train, but it was better than nothing.

Now, with the implementation of the curfew prohibiting people to go out from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the Stingers have to find even more creative ways to stay active. With the winter semester now underway, it also makes it harder for them to go out and get some fresh air.

Women’s rugby team Head Coach Jocelyn Barrieau said it’s often hard to work out alone, especially if you’re living under certain conditions, like in an apartment, with people above and below your training place.

“Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux builds us training programs to do from home,” Barrieau said. “So far, we’ve tried to keep it up to the beat physically and mentally. We’re trying to create online events for our team in order to do that.”

Breton-Lebreux is the Stingers’ strength and conditioning coordinator. She has a key role for some members of the Stingers team, but generally helps all Stingers teams in terms of training. Her role has probably never been as important as it is now.

Men’s basketball team player Louis-Vincent Gauvin said things will probably be harder now with the curfew. He said that even when red zone restrictions started, going out for a run wasn’t necessarily fun.

“Training from home isn’t always motivating, especially compared to [being] with your teammates,” Gauvin said. “I know Concordia lends stationary bikes, so I asked for one and now I’m doing some at home, along with my other exercises.”

Gauvin said players are still very well surrounded despite not meeting in person. He said they have access to personalized training plans, and that things not related to workouts, such as mental health support, are included and taken seriously.

On the same idea, Barrieau said that the advice she would give to student athletes, and to people in general, is to take advantage of the minutes you have between tasks to go out, or at least free your mind.

When you have the chance to get outside, even if it’s just 30 minutes between classes, do it,” Barrieau said. “Sometimes just going out for a few minutes, and getting some fresh air, doing yoga or whatever, can help. We encourage our players to send a little message text to a teammate during the day. Something positive can really make a difference in a day, especially with school.”


Graphic by Arianna Siviria

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