NC – Cabin fever is a reality for many Canadians after being cooped up indoors all winter long. So what better way is there to enjoy the arrival of spring than to say goodbye to hibernation and embrace a new wellness routine? This would include a diet rich in seasonal produce and a well-planned fitness program with plenty of outdoor time. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has some helpful tips to get you back in shape and enjoying spring to the fullest, naturally:
Out with the old, in with the new
According to Helen Long, president of CHFA: “Spring is the beginning of a bountiful growing season and adding more fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables to the daily diet is an excellent way to feel energized,” Many of us pack on pounds throughout winter, as our bodies crave comfort foods that are not always good for the waistline. Now is the ideal time to make small changes to your diet by including fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and fibre. It will have a big impact on your weight-loss goals and general well-being. Opt for organic produce to avoid unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Take it outside
A 35-year old, 165 pound woman can burn up to 230 calories by walking at a moderate pace for one hour. Put your running shoes on and go out for a stroll. Cardiovascular exercise not only helps with maintaining a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism, but it also improves heart health by reducing cholesterol and enhancing blood circulation. Performing cardiovascular exercise also changes the hormonal profile in your body considerably. It releases ‘feel good’ hormones that can help ease symptoms of depression and fatigue, as well as releasing hormones that can help decrease appetite.
While a proper diet and exercise regimen is essential to building your lean body mass, adding a protein supplement helps maintain your muscle mass and therefore assists in the fat-loss process. Supplemental protein, when needed, can also help because it has a high-satiety factor, meaning that it will leave you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re vegan, try rice, hemp, or pea protein as a substitute for whey protein.
Recent studies show that maintaining healthy gut flora is also key to achieving your weight-loss goals. Adding a probiotic to your regimen can help you maintain a healthy weight by fostering a healthy digestive tract that is able to eliminate harmful bacteria, toxins and other waste products, helping to improve your overall digestive health. Probiotics also help to strengthen your immune system and improve cardiovascular health.
When making significant changes to your fitness, nutrition, or supplement routines, it’s always important to talk to your health care practitioner to ensure that these changes are right for you. More information is available online at chfa.ca, where you can also find a health food store in your neighbourhood.