There’s nothing better than signs of spring: Flowers blooming, the 12 o’clock sun brighter, and the Lake Murray Dam full of people stretching their legs and soaking up the sun. Although South Carolina winters can’t exactly be categorized as severe, residents still get excited with spring’s arrival.
With spring comes the ability to adopt sustainable nutrition habits that also benefit the Earth. What does the common expression of "go green" actually look like beyond shopping from the Publix organic produce section?
Following are ways to go green beyond putting kale in a smoothie:
- Soda City Farmer’s Market in Columbia: Saturdays year-round. Find locally grown produce, while improving the economy of South Carolina agriculture.
- Produce box delivery services: A quick Google search yields options, based on how often one wants to cook and how much variety one wants.
- Misfits Market: Subscribe to this East Coast-based organic produce delivery service and help sustainable farming practices nationwide. This company sources a wide variety of delicious organic produce that doesn’t quite make the cut at local supermarkets due to appearances.
By incorporating a wider variety of produce and whole foods in these ways, everyone can improve their health with new micronutrients. Everyone also can help lower food waste, which generates and contributes to some of the biggest planet-harming emissions.
Getting outdoors has plenty of benefits; some of them are essential for proper health. For example, Vitamin D deficiency can become a real risk to optimal health. The best and most efficient way to absorb Vitamin D is from the sun, through the largest organ: skin.
Being fit is much more than going to the gym and walking on a treadmill. In fact, being active by taking a certain amount of steps every day is one of the main factors taken into account when measuring general health and life expectancy.
For those convinced that the recommended "30 minutes of daily exercise" has to be done continuously, know that in actuality, three short, intense 10-minute walks are MORE beneficial to long-term health than one 30-minute walk. These brisk, short duration walks ramp up heart rates and require longer to bring it back down, making metabolism adapt and become more efficient over time.
Higher intensity requires more muscle strength and size, and more muscle has been linked to just about every longevity study out there. So set a timer and get moving this month!
For those who make the gym a regular part of their week, consider taking rest days outside for some active recovery. Sometimes it’s easy to think rest should be literally sitting on the couch, not moving at all. Studies actually show that getting blood flow to sore muscles is proven to improve muscle and strength gains, and dramatically shorten recovery time.
Because April brings Southern humidity back around, use the naturally warm air to loosen up after a tough workout by going for a short walk before and after gym sessions. An effective dynamic warmup should begin with 5-10 minutes of raising the body’s core temperature and elevating the heart rate.
Looking for more health and fitness accountability this season? Consider joining a boutique gym, such as Burn Boot Camp, which doesn’t use machines. Instead, clients are trained to use their bodies more efficiently and become a machine. Personal training in a group setting for a unique workout experience gets results while enjoying the process.
Editor's Note: Hannah Gills is head trainer at Burn Boot Camp in Lexington. She has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She's a certified personal trainer and a certified sports nutritionist. To contact her, email email@example.com or call 803.814.4065.
“Go green on your plate, and you’re helping the world go green!”
“Getting outside and being active is literally anti-aging.”