The Best Part About Spring

When you go to a school in a place with awful sub-zero winters, the most exciting thing about spring is, undoubtedly, the warmer weather. For me, the warmer weather means that I can finally do one of my favorite activities without fear of getting frostbite or slipping on black ice – namely, I can start running outside again.

I’ve never thought of myself as an athletic person. I stood on the sidelines during high school gym class, putting far more effort into avoiding any activities rather than participating in them. I never even considered taking up any sports outside of school. It just wasn’t me. But after I started working out regularly in college, and learned that I actually liked running on the treadmill, I decided to take up running outside. And that was one of the best decisions that I’ve made.

 

           I don’t run competitively, nor do I put pressure on myself to make certain times. (Though it’s great if you do!) Instead I like running because, to me, it’s a fun way to get some exercise while spending time outside. Sun exposure has many health benefits, including improved bone health and brain function. Moreover, spending time outside has been linked to boosts in mood. Seasonal affective depression (SAD) is a very real and common disorder in which those afflicted suffer from moodiness and fatigue during the cold and dark winter months. Thus, once those months have passed – which, admittedly, takes quite a long time in New Hampshire – I like to take advantage of the sunlight and spend as much time outdoors as possible. And running is a great way to get in my daily workout, while also soaking in a little vitamin D.

 

           Running also has the added benefit of serving as what I like to call a meditative activity. While I’m running, I like to listen to music and tune out the rest of the world. It’s a time for me to temporarily put all of the stresses of college life aside, and to take some time for myself to just relax. While I’d be lying if I said that stressful thoughts never cross my mind while I’m hitting the trails, I do my best to push them out of my mind temporarily. Instead, I focus on the song that I’m listening to, or the blossoms on the trees that I’m passing by. Taking the time to destress in the form of a morning run actually helps me to be more productive later in the day. I end up less overwhelmed and more energized, ready to tackle my work.

 

           Taking up some kind of outdoor activity has so many benefits, physical and mental. So, if you find yourself feeling down after the dreary winter months, try to make the most of your spring by maximizing your time outside. Try going a brief run, or taking a scenic walk a few times a week. Alternatively, take up an outdoor yoga class, or do some creative writing under the shade of a willow tree – inspirational, I know! I hope you find it as enjoyable and healthful as I do :)