10 Healthy Reasons to Love Spring
There's More Produce In Season
Spring onions, asparagus, rhubarb, kumquats… You might see some of this produce in the supermarket year-round, but now is when it’s actually starting to come into season in the U.S. (the rest of the year, it’s shipped in from warm states or other countries). Buying local, in-season produce is better for the environment and helps support local growers. And while it isn’t necessarily healthier or more nutritious for you, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet
, it does taste better, which encourages you to eat more of it.
You're Soaking Up Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a real thing, and nearly 75 percent of Americans are at risk of it, research from JAMA Internal Medicine
shows. (That number may be even higher right now, after a long winter of little sun.) The symptoms? Blue moods, achy bones, and brain fog. But now that the sun is staying up past 4 p.m. and it’s actually warm enough to show some skin outdoors, you’ll be getting an extra dose of D again. (Too much Vitamin D Is Linked to Increased Risk of Death, though.)
Sick Season Is Over
Yes, summer colds are a thing, but flu activity is steadily decreasing, according to the CDC. And while allergies are definitely annoying, at least they’re not contagious. There’s something to be said for being able to shake hands without immediately feeling the urge to douse yourself in sanitizing gel.
You're Eating Outside
While no studies prove dining al fresco is healthier than eating indoors, it definitely feels like it should be. If nothing else, the fresh air and beautiful scenery makes us want to linger over our meals—and when you eat slowly, you also tend to eat less, according to research from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association
You're Socializing More
Spending time with your friends is super-healthy, but when you have to pull on a coat, a scarf, gloves, and a pair of boots before going out, you’re more likely to decide to just stay in. Besides less socializing, that translates into less activity in general (no more quick lunchtime walks, or after dinner strolls). We’re happy to say goodbye to our cabin fever.
You're Hitting the Trails
Exercising outdoors tends to make you feel happier and less stressed than when you’re cooped up in the gym, according to a review in the journal Environmental Science & Technology
. Other studies show that you expend more energy (read: burn more cals) when you run and bike outdoors. (Try one of these 10 New Outdoor Workout Ideas.)
The Days Are Longer
More hours of sunlight mean there’s so much more time for activities. Plus, the extra rays may translate into better sleep: Workers who got more light during the day slept about 46 minutes more per night than those who got less, according to findings presented at the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC. Morning light is especially healthy for your mood, stress levels, and even your waistline, research shows.
You're Having Hotter Sex
Two-thirds of people say they’re more interested in sex when the weather warms up, according to a survey from Wet Intimacy Products. It makes sense: everyone’s showing more skin, sweating more (and therefore releasing arousal-piquing pheromones), and socializing more—which all adds up to a higher sex drive. (But watch out: your Allergy Meds Could Be Messing with Your Sex Life.)
You're Planning Vacations
Yes, actually going on a trip is amazing. But you may actually get more of a mood boost from picking a place to visit and browsing booking sites to find the best deals. Research in the journal Psychological Science
shows that the time you spend anticipating experiential purchases (like vacations) makes you happier and more excited than actually going on the vacation. (Sign up for one of these Once-in-a-Lifetime Fitness Retreats for Women.)
You're More Motivated to Lose Weight
Maybe you signed up for a summer or fall race, or maybe you know there’s a beach trip in your near future. Both provide plenty of inspiration to stick to your fitness and diet goals. In the winter, when these events are far away, it’s harder to ignore the siren call of the couch.