Fitness & Health

Soggy weather getting you down? Try these four steps to help you make it to the spring

Photo by Marta Kierkus

Let’s be honest: March is an awkward month. It signals the official start of spring but disappoints with its fluctuating temperatures and resistant snow removal. But this fluctuation isn’t enough to stop the pent-up runners, joggers, and bikers who take to the road in numbers, sporting their Lululemon gear and flashy new shoes.

Maybe it’s this reckless eagerness for warm weather that’s the reason why the dreaded March cold and flu season exists, but by the end of the month most Gee-Gees are asking: Is it over yet?

What can you do to protect yourself from the March blues, you ask? Well, here are some sure-fire tips to get you up and at ‘em this month.

 

Happy people make a happy month

Down in the dumps? Figure out where your happy place is and become a frequent flier. Naturally boost your serotonin and dopamine levels by getting lost in the present. That means doing things that make you forget time is passing. In other words, make doing things that make you happy a priority. If something makes you feel happy, accomplished, or satisfied, take time every day to do it.

 

Steal some sunshine

No motivation? Maximize your exposure to sunlight and outdoors. Take a 10-minute walk along the canal, study in buildings with large windows and plenty of natural light, or simply throw on a sweater and open your window to let in some fresh air. Exposing yourself to fresh air and natural light can make a big difference in mood, motivation, and even brain chemistry. So when your brain says hide, get your butt outside.

Move it

Do you have low energy and low motivation? Two words for you: get moving. Those who exercise at least half an hour a day show increased energy, confidence, and a more positive day-to-day outlook. Don’t have energy to start hitting the gym hard? Two more words: start slow. Waking up at 6 a.m. for a jog, a spin class, and yoga might energize you for the day, but chances are it’s going to be short-term. Start with a short workout video or a daily walking routine — whatever is manageable and realistic for your schedule — and gradually add weights, start running, or increase your time and speed.

 

Food, the gift that keeps on giving

So, we’ve covered positive activities to add to your lifestyle, but what about avoiding a virus or infection? Well, other than getting more rest — which, let’s face it, you may have pretty much zero control over as a university student — the best thing to do is to focus on food.

Ah yes, that pesky thing called nutrition, something that is way too overlooked in the western world of comfort food and microwavable dinners. Whether you know it or not, what you put in your mouth has a direct short- and long-term effect on the body.

While a balanced diet is ideal, there are some foods you can incorporate into your daily diet right now that will boost your immune system and keep you on your feet this spring.

Ginger has immune-boosting and bacteria-fighting agents that have long been used in ancient cultures. Add it to stir fry, soups, or meats, or simply cut it up and add it to some hot water to reap the rewards of this plentiful root.

Green tea is also a powerful agent in aiding the immune system by protecting against oxidative stress that can damage cells. Adding a cup a day to your diet will do wonders for your hair, skin, and immune system.

Finally, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is essential in fighting infection and maintaining your mucus membranes needed for filtering bacteria. Throw it in the microwave, add salsa, and enjoy this tasty starch — your body will thank you.