In Quebec, spring has been long-awaited and it seems we Quebecers have had a long hard winter this year. Although I’m certain every year we feel this way.
At 0 degrees , I’ve seen people outside shivering in t-shirts as they stubbornly want to believe that our winter is over…not quite. Ladies start heading over to the shops for new sandals and sundresses eagerly anticipating the moment they can shed their winter attire. We start shaving our legs more often and run for pedicures.
Here are a few reasons to really appreciate the arrival of the equinox;
Spring also means to leap, bound or jump. It’s a great time to start a new exercise regime. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Kids should get at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity including vigorous activity at least 3 days per week.
The benefits of physical activity to our health are tremendous.
Reducing the risks of heart disease, stroke and helps prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer and obesity. So get out there; biking, gardening, walking, whatever you can do.
Spring also helps mood. Research has shown that rising temperature lowers anxiety and that sunshine increases optimism, increases the production of endorphins and serotonin in your brain and lowers pain levels. All of which promote a sense of well-being.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD was first described in 1984 by Norman Rosenthal MD as a kind of major depression due to a lack of exposure to sunlight. While not everyone has this major disorder, requiring treatment, many of us suffer the same symptoms of loss of energy, change in appetite, tendency to oversleep, difficulty concentrating and irritability. No wonder we are starving for spring.
Vitamin D is another reason to get outside and enjoy that spring sunshine (using sunscreen of course). While you are enjoying the tulips and new buds growing on the trees, you are absorbing lots of amazing vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for the formation, growth and repair of bones, for normal calcium absorption and immune function.
There are many benefits to this wonderful “sunshine” vitamin.
You probably already knew how wonderful spring makes us feel. Use this spring as a new beginning. Start spending more time on yourself, doing things you enjoy.
Get outside and enjoy the sun in a sensible way.
Be more active. Start grilling veggies and lean cuts of meat. Start walking, meditating, writing in your journal…whatever makes you feel great.
Do it now, there’s no better time.
Rachel Shaffer, RN