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Bring on Spring

Mar 30, 2012 02:47AM ● Published by Style

Oh, glorious spring.

It’s a welcome relief after months of frigid temperatures and overstuffed coats. The sun is shining and birds are chirping, but you’re still sitting on the couch. Get up and get out! Here are seven healthy ways to get some fresh air and welcome spring.

1. PLANT A VEGETABLE OR HERB GARDEN

Cooking with produce from your own garden is extremely rewarding. Start small with easy-to-grow plants like tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. If you’re feeling brave, plant a citrus tree – they’re hearty and low maintenance. Live in an apartment? No problem. Countertop herb gardens are easy to cultivate and need very little room; a small planter with basil, parsley and mint is a great way to put your green thumb to use.

2. JOIN AN OUTDOOR EXERCISE GROUP

With the longer days promising plenty of warm sunshine, there is no reason to limit your workouts to the monotony of the gym. Outdoor group exercise classes like boot camps, Tai chi and yoga in the park will all get you outside, amidst fresh air.

3. SPRING CLEAN

Months with the furnace running and windows locked up tight against the cold have trapped dust, dirt and mold inside, all of which are a threat to allergies and asthma. Move those couches and shake out those curtains. Let the sunshine and fresh air wash away the stagnant days of winter!

4. CELEBRATE MEATLESS MONDAYS

The average American eats 200 pounds of meat every year and falls short on their consumption of fruits and vegetables by 40 percent. Join the growing Meatless Monday movement (meatlessmonday.com) and commit to serving all vegetarian dishes one day per week. If Mondays don’t work for you, fret not…Fridays work too! Your waistline, your grocery bill and the environment will all benefit. And, for more Meatless Monday recipes check out Style’s “Make It a Meatless Monday” feature from our March issue on stylemg.com.

5. CANCEL YOUR CABLE

You constantly hear how children are watching too much television and not getting enough exercise. Well, the same is true of adults. Think of all the fun you could have if you took away the lure of 300 channels (offering shows you don’t even like). It’s definitely difficult, but turn your cable off. Just try it for a month; you can always get it back. Maybe you won’t miss those late night talk shows and repetitive infomercials. Maybe you’ll take the next month off, too.

6. ADOPT A DOG

Nothing will light a fire under you to get outside and go for a walk more than the threat of a dog having an accident on your fancy hardwood floors. Dogs demand that we take them for walks and on adventures to the park. Not to mention they are wonderful companions and have been proven to lower blood pressure and anxiety – unless of course they have an accident on your hardwood floors, but you won’t let that happen. For a list of local rescue organizations, check out stylemg.com.

7. SHOP AT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS’ MARKET

When you shop at a local farm or farmers’ market, you have access to a variety of seasonal, locally grown and (often) organic produce. Not only are you supporting local farmers, but you are helping the environment as well. See our feature on page 37 for local markets near you!

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