A Spring Clean for Your Workout
By Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS
Seasonal changes bring with them the opportunity for different exercises and exciting new sets of activities. Whether you’re approaching an exercise plateau or are just about done with a particular workout plan, a seasonal transition is an opportunity to celebrate new routines and revisit old favorites, whether they are particular exercises, new equipment or fresh nutritional plans. And the arrival of spring is everyone’s favorite change, as it brings about natural transformations in sleep cycles, energy levels, and outdoor activities to be enjoyed right up until late autumn.
Indoor/Outdoor Exercise Options
For starters, indoor exercises no longer feel like a penal sentence but an option. And the alternative is combining indoor workouts with outdoor activity or literally moving your exercise routines outside to take advantage of the fresh air and sunlight. With the boost in oxygenation and vitamin D production, you’re set for a fresh new perspective on physical exercise. Options include:
- a) Brisk walks to and from the gym while the weather is still warming
- b) Bicycle rides can replace dry indoor leg workouts
- c) On warm days, take a blanket to the park and see how many natural resistance exercises can replace your indoor routine. The results may be surprising.
Fresh Nutritional Choices
As we progress through the season, more fruits and vegetables will be available and constitute healthy choices for active individuals. You don’t need to be a certified foodie to gravitate towards leafy greens and fresh berries. No need to get obsessive about your intake of polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants. Remember to:
- a) Look for fresh, local produce to enjoy
- b) Research healthy choices and shop for delicious products like corn, spinach, radishes and strawberries
- c) Always take your water wherever your workouts take you
Rest & Relaxation
An abundance of sun and fresh air, combined with more energy for vigorous activity, is sure to reinvigorate you after the winter months. If you have the opportunity for a mid-afternoon power nap, savor it. Otherwise, be sure to get a full night’s sleep ever night, ensuring that your glymphatic system – the recently discovered process by which your brain cleanses itself overnight – has ample time to do its job and freshen up your synapses.
- a) Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night
- b) Power naps should not exceed a half hour, in the mid-afternoon (not late as they can impact your evening)
- c) Avoid exercising and eating too close to bedtime. As usual, smaller meals throughout the day will avoid energy spikes and lethargic lows, while early morning workouts are more likely to unlock energy that will set you on the right path for the rest of the day.
Upon arrival, spring seems to touch every aspect of our lives in a positive way, so enjoy the celebration and keep adapting your approach to a healthy, active lifestyle to preserve the novelty and effectiveness of your fitness plan. You’ll be glad you did.