Great weather is finally around the corner, as is spring – the season for shorts, skirts and exposed skin. But nothing feels worse than when you’re hot, sticky, and flabby. After months of hiding in bulky layers and dodging the gym, it’s likely that your limbs are soft and stomach flabby. And with pasty, dry winter skin dimples and ripples are more apparent than ever before. But the issue isn’t just how you look, but how your appearance makes you feel; and chances are if you’re out of shape, you’re not feeling so hot.
Fortunately, spring is all about renewal and revitalization. If your winter workout routine was lax, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it. It’s never too late to improve your fitness routine, no matter what the season.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Spring is no time to be trapped inside a gym, pounding the treadmill. Take your workout outside or if you’re a dedicated gym rat, go early in the morning when it’s cooler and darker so you won’t miss out on the sunshine.
Turn your exercise routine into a social activity by joining an amateur sports league. Many companies organize office-wide kickball or softball leagues. City community centers also sponsor intramural sports.
Sign up for a marathon. While it sounds daunting, marathons, even mini ones are completely do-able — because no one said you have to run them. Start small by signing up for a 5K. It’s the perfect start for non-runners or those with bad knees and ankles. At 3.3 miles, almost anyone can walk it, and if the mood strikes – start running.
If yoga and pilates are more your style, look around your community to see if any of the yoga centers offer outdoor classes in a nearby park. Or practice in your backyard; bring the laptop out to the patio and watch a guided class online.
If you’ve guzzled one too many cocktails or gorged on carby comfort foods all winter, it can be tempting to make those foods persona non grata in your home. While it’s good to cut back, don’t deprive yourself of every craving, for it’s easy to overeat by compensating for your original sweet desires. If it’s an Iced Carmel Macchiato you’re craving, just order a small one with nonfat milk, and walk to the out-of-the-way Starbucks to get it.
Take advantage of the various fruit and vegetable seasons by indulging in leafy green salads with heirloom tomatoes and big portobello mushrooms. Or find a blue, black or raspberry patch and go picking for healthy kind of sweet treat.
Challenge yourself to become a culinary master – or at least competent in the kitchen by learning how to expertly work a grill. Almost everything tastes good grilled — asparagus, peppers, salmon, chicken, kabobs, Marinate your food in a light balsamic dressing or use a low-calorie barbeque sauce.
Looking good and feeling good this spring is up to you, but try to take advantage of what nature is throwing your way – good weather and bountiful greens.