This post was written in collaboration with our friends at Aaptiv. Check out Aaptiv.com to explore high quality audio fitness classes taught by certified personal trainers and set to the perfect playlist.
Spring has sprung, and it’s a perfect time to make some healthy lifestyle changes. Check out some mouthwatering nutrition tips and fitness hacks below to make the most of this season.
Shift Your Eating Habits for Spring
In the winter months, farmers’ markets and grocery stores are packed with hearty vegetables like starchy potatoes, squash, turnips, and winter greens. These vegetables fit well into the warm, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food we crave during colder weather. But as the snow melts and the sun comes out, our tastes turn to fresher, lighter fare. Luckily, springtime greets us with just that! Here are our favorite ways to put some springtime on your table:
Shop Spring’s Bounty. Starting in March, vegetables like artichokes, fennel, peas, and mushrooms become readily available at the market. Lesser-known vegetables, like fiddlehead ferns, sorrel, and ramps are also in season. Toss up a seasonal salad with fresh greens like butter lettuce, spinach, or spring baby lettuce, adding crunch with snap peas and radish. Or, use the warmer weather as an excuse to whip out the grill for a roasted veggie salad of asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini.
Join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). For a reasonable fee, you’ll enjoy a weekly or biweekly share of a local farm’s harvest. Since you can’t choose what you get in your box week-to-week, you’ll be exposed to new vegetables like garlic scapes—the flowering bud of the garlic plant, which can be turned into pesto, added to stir-fries or grain salads, or blanched like green beans.
Speaking of Pesto… Think beyond basil. You can make a pesto with any of spring’s fresh herbs, like tarragon, chives, parsley or mint. Simply blend the fresh herb with olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts or walnuts, salt, and pepper. Toss whatever you mix up over more vegetables, like artichokes or roasted carrots, or serve it on the side of grilled fish or chicken.
Spring for Delivery. Schedule too busy to spend time tinkering in the kitchen? Munchery makes it easy to bring a taste of the season to your dinner table, delivering bright, vibrant dishes like spring salmon with pea shoots and watermelon radish, or burrata-topped pasta primavera tossed with lemon-garlic sauce.
Easy Springtime Fitness Hacks
Nutrition isn’t the only thing that changes with the seasons. Warmer weather brings with it the opportunity to work out in the great outdoors! Exercising in fresh air can be a great mood booster,
but it’s crucial to keep in mind that a static treadmill workout is a lot more forgiving on your feet and joints than concrete or asphalt. Exercise physiologist Tom Holland suggests taking two weeks to build up strength and conditioning needed to take on outdoor running, rather than rushing into it and risking an injury.
There’s a ton of research out there to dive into, but an important takeaway is that you don’t need to be a fitness guru to build up your knowledge and train your body to adjust to exercising outdoor exercise. Check out some tips from users of the workout app Aaptiv on their experiences training outside:
Start Small. One of the most important things to remember is that it will take time to acclimate. Much like Holland suggested, many users suggested starting out with smaller walks or jogs, making a point not to push yourself to perform as you normally would.
Enlist a Friend. A research study conducted by MIT’s Sloan School of Management looked into the “social contagion” of exercise, and concluded that exercise by nature is a social activity. Never has this been truer than in the age of networking apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, and tracking apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun. It’s so easy to draw inspiration from our favorite fitness accounts or our friend’s progress updates, but why not enlist one of those friends as a real-life workout buddy? Having someone join you for runs can bring out your competitive streak, make you more accountable, and even increase your own fitness knowledge through the sharing of information.
Mimic the Terrain. There are a lot of elemental factors that change when you run outside versus on a treadmill. Luckily, you can adjust your treadmill workout to help prepare for the environment outside. Try increasing your incline slightly, to around 1.5, to mimic the natural wind resistance you’ll encounter outside, and experiment with higher inclines to simulate hills.
Incorporate Strength Training. Strength training for recreational runners is incredibly important. It can help you run faster and more efficiently, burn more calories, and, be less prone to injuries—which unfortunately many runners fall victim to. Try incorporating one strength session per week, and gradually build up as needed.
The transition from one season to another is always an inspirational time, but something about spring speaks of energy and personal growth. Take advantage of the changing environment to change your habits, or learn new ones to incorporate into your own routine! Either way, you’ll be glad you did.