Spring is in full force. You can confirm this to be true by looking at the calendar or by stepping outside. That ball of fire up in the sky: That’s the sun, and yes, it’s still out when you get home from work.
With more daylight hours, warmer weather and fresh foods hitting produce stands, spring is a great time to shed the couch-induced comforts of winter and embrace the potential of the season. Potential for outdoor workouts, warm-weather activities and meals that don’t begin and end with a Crock Pot full of slow-cooked meat. Consider it your “spring reset” and an opportunity to revisit some of those New Year’s resolutions that might have faltered over the past few months.
To help make it happen, here are 10 easy ways to come out of hibernation and get your diet and fitness goals back on track.
1 RUN OUTSIDE
Exercising outside has been shown to promote revitalization, increase energy and even burn more calories. Throw in some vitamin D from the sun, and you’ve got plenty of good reasons to get outdoors. Go blaze a trail on your favorite running path and enjoy feeling something on your face other than sleet and snow.
2 DRINK MORE WATER
This is always a good idea, regardless of the season. But let that warm weather remind you that drinking more water benefits your body and mind — impacting everything from muscle function and cognition to your mood. So make water your go-to beverage throughout the day. Keep a refillable bottle at home and at your desk and a swig of refreshing H20 will always be within arm’s reach.
3 VISIT THE FARMERS MARKET
Swing by your local farmers market to see what’s new and what’s fresh or join a CSA. Artichokes, asparagus and arugula are particularly good during the spring, plus a few other things that don’t start with “A.” Think: strawberries, cherries and peas. Sample the fare, then take some of that bounty home and cook a healthy dinner.
4 TRY A NEW-T0-YOU VEGETABLE
You’ve already gone to the farmers market, which is a great first step. Now take things a bit further by introducing yourself to a yet-to-be-eaten vegetable. Maybe you’ve been avoiding beets, radishes or bok choy. They’re in season now, and loaded with nutrients, so check something off that list. Chances are, you’ll enjoy it.
5 LOG WHAT YOU EAT
Between multi-ingredient meals, snacks and drinks, calories can really add up. Tracking what you eat makes you more mindful about what’s going into your body. So if your diet’s gone off the rails, or if you just want to be more thoughtful about your food choices, try logging what you eat each day. You’ll see where your calories are coming from and, if necessary, you can target ways to cut back.
6 LOG YOUR STEPS
Walking more is one of the best ways to lose weight, lower blood pressure and generally improve your overall health and fitness levels. Start counting your steps, and you can see exactly how much you’re moving each day. The MyFitnessPal app makes it easy. It can sync with your phone’s built-in motion processor or connect to your favorite step tracker.
7 TAKE AN EVENING WALK
Take advantage of daylight saving and go for a casual stroll after work. Walking outside can recharge your batteries after a long day, and if you’re counting steps, it’s also a great way to boost your total and reach your goal.
8 TAKE UP A SPORT
Spring is a fine time to partake in outdoor sports, including soccer, softball, tennis and golf. Pick your favorite and have a good time while burning calories. Most cities have local sports leagues, and many offices organize teams, so it’s usually easy to find a game.
9 SIGN UP FOR A RACE
Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a marathon. Or maybe you want to tackle your first 5K. Either way, great. Because whether it’s running, biking or participating in a mud run, setting a goal keeps you motivated and moving.
10 SET A BEDTIME … AND STICK TO IT
Most studies suggest adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night and that’s a lot more difficult when your bedtime varies. So try your best to keep your sleep schedule consistent. It will not only make you feel better in the morning, but getting enough sleep has also been linked to a lower BMI, reduced stress levels and making better food choices.