By: Madeline Brady, Regular Contributor
I don’t know about you, but I am so sick of winter! I’m in school in Pennsylvania, and I swear it has been winter for an entire ice age. Just the mention of spring has got me daydreaming about going on long walks with my dog after dinner, picking up fresh flowers from the farmers’ market, and lounging on the grass at an outdoor concert (insert long sigh here).
The best part of spring, though, is how great it feels to be outside after a long winter’s hibernation. And it turns out that’s no accident- there are a lot of studies that tout the health benefits of being outdoors. So show your body some love by taking in the nature and celebrating spring! Here are a few ideas:
1. Just get outside!
When you were a kid, were your parents constantly telling you to play outside because it was good for you? I was always skeptical, but it turns out that simply being outside can give you energy and positively impact your feeling of vitality. Whether you are walking, reading, or sharing a meal, studies show that you get even more positive energy from these activities just by moving them outside. So grab the picnic basket or the Frisbee and get out there!
2. Plant a Tree
Everyone knows that planting a tree is good for the environment, but did you know that trees remove 17.4 million tons of pollution, prevent 670,000 cases of acute respiratory illness, and save 850 lives each year?! Trees are incredible things, and they are doing a lot of heaving lifting to keep our bodies healthy. Whether it’s a tree in your backyard or an herb garden in your window, every bit helps you breathe easier.
3. Soak up the Sun (but not too much)
Nothing cures the cold weather blues quite like thawing out your winter skin and catching some rays. And now you have a great excuse: getting your required dose of Vitamin D from sunlight helps promote bone health and reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancers. Obviously don’t get carried away and always keep sunscreen on hand, but next time you’re running errands on a sunny day, don’t forget to take a minute to let it sink in.
4. Clean Out Your Space
As I’m thinking about moving out of my dorm for good, I can’t help but notice how much useless stuff I’ve accumulated over the years: clothes, curtains, and pillows from my freshman year roommate I’ll never give back… But I guess that’s why they call it spring-cleaning. By keeping your place clean, you reduce the number of dust mites, bacteria, and viruses that can build up, which is especially important if you have asthma or are prone to respiratory problems. Maybe that beloved (but disgusting) beanbag chair you’ve had for years isn’t so great after all…
5. Stop and Smell the Roses
Whether it’s crocuses in the backyard, a vase of tulips on your desk, or a big event like the cherry blossom festival, flowers are the ultimate sign of spring. There is just something about them that makes you feel calm. Apparently that thing is called a linalool, a compound found in many floral scents, which is associated with reducing immune cells and hyperactive genes during stress. So do yourself a favor and buy that bouquet you’ve been eyeing in the flower shop window; it is for your health after all. Happy spring!
Let's Chat! How do you enjoy Spring? What are some of your favorite outdoor activities? Share them with us here!
Madeline Brady is a soon-to-be recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College where she majored in English and Theater. She is looking forward to joining the real world, learning how to cook more than cereal, and living abroad after graduation. Her passions include running, music, feminism, and spending way too much time on Instagram.
image via http://en.wikipedia.org/