Improve your health for a new spring in your step

Delia Rush, Features Editors

Although some remnants of winter remain, spring is officially here.  The winter vortex has finally ended, and soon pollen allergies will cripple the student body.  Prepare yourself for sneezes.

Although it may be a little late to get started on a spring break physique, there is still time to shed a few pounds before the heat actually kicks in and spring takes its true form.  After all, summer bodies are made in the winter, and for all we care it’s winter until temperatures break seventy degrees.

The first and most obvious tip is to get active.  The great outdoors are even more welcoming with warm temperatures. Spring is just calling your name.  If you are not exactly athletic, start small.  Go for a long walk one day, and try and jog some parts of your route the next.  Use the school’s track to your advantage and do a few laps when it is not occupied by the spring track teams.

Try and get involved in activities that interest you!  Exercise becomes less of a burden if you enjoy doing it.  Although gym memberships can be expensive, they are a great source of physical activity for people of all levels of expertise.

Test out different fitness options, such as Zumba or kickboxing.  There are countless options that are bound to satisfy you.

“I recently took up Bikram yoga.  I really wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do and it has made exercise so much more fun,” said junior Jessie Baer.

Another piece of advice of equal importance to fitness is nutrition.  There is no need to go on an extreme diet in order to obtain the level of physical fitness you desire. How you look and feel depends on both exercise and eating habits.

Again, the road to success starts with baby steps.  Try to cut out processed food from your diet, eliminating manufactured foods one by one.  It may seem drastic, but the hardest part is just the beginning, and it gets easier after just a few days.

“I used to drink iced tea and lemonade all of the time, but I started drinking coconut water instead.  It’s so hydrating and really good for you,” said junior Catalina Salvatierra.

Substitute your favorite sugary and salty snacks with healthy alternatives; you would be amazed at the options available that are actually good for you.  Instead of sweets, indulge in fruit.  The natural sugar will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Snack on nuts for a salty treat.  Nuts such as almonds are protein-packed and are a good source of healthy fat, which is necessary for proper brain function.  For those with nut allergies, other opportunities to indulge (but not in excess) are rice crackers or rice cakes.

While most high school students will scoff at the suggestion of eating vegetables, getting your daily dosage of veggies is not as difficult (or as disgusting) as it sounds.  Again, find what you like.  You may hate broccoli, but love carrots.  Play around with the preparation of different vegetables to find what you like best, considering just how versatile and necessary this food group is.  If all else fails, mask the taste by dipping the vegetables in your choice of healthy dips, such as hummus.

A final recommendation is to plan.  If you plan out meals and workout schedules, you are more likely to stick to your fitness goal.  The process will also seem less daunting if you embark on this fitness journey with a friend.  As partners, you can encourage and push each other to eat well and work out regularly, and make the experience more enjoyable.

Although body health should be a priority, do not let your life become consumed by the notion of a “summer body.”  This is just a chance to improve your general health.  Exercising and clean eating have been proven to improve both self-esteem and overall mood, so take on a fitness plan to satisfy your inner self, not others.