Health

6 Spring Activities to Boost Your Health and Happiness

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Hooray for warm breezes, pretty blooms, and sunny days! Even better, all the seasonal things you love can supercharge vitality. Here are six fun spring activities that’ll boost your health and happiness!

Sharpen memory puttering in the garden.

Whether you’re planting seeds for summer vegetables or dividing your perennials, getting your hands dirty in the garden keeps your mind sharp. Turns out enjoying just five minutes of this favorite warm-weather activity daily boosts your focus and mental pep by 54 percent in four days. Breathing in a healthy probiotic found in soil (Mycobacterium vaccae) stimulates the brain’s memory-enhancing frontal lobes. Bonus: Soil’s earthy scent has been shown to tame tiredness!

Spring blooms send stamina soaring.

Another reason to admire the daffodils in your garden or set a vase of tulips on your kitchen counter: Gazing at colorful blooms for just 2 minutes twice daily triggers the release of revitalizing beta brain waves, according to British researchers, increasing your energy by up to 35 percent.

Reverse aging by visiting the market.

Stopping by your local farmers market provides more than a healthy bounty. Admiring stalls filled with spring-fresh fruit and vegetables can help you feel 55 percent younger day-to-day, plus cut your risk of chronic illnesses by 46 percent, according to Swedish investigators. The reason: Combining a stroll with the mental stimulation of choosing what to buy keeps your central nervous system energized and engaged and immune cells in tip-top shape.

Boost immunity with a bowl of berries.

Tossing strawberries in your cereal or sipping a blueberry smoothie keeps viruses at bay. A study in Advances in Nutrition reveals a cup of berries is packed with enough plant compounds (called flavonoids) to energize virus-fighting immune cells, reducing the risk of viral infections by 33 percent and helping you bounce back 40 percent faster if you fall ill.

Invite more joy by watching the rain.

Spring showers bring much more than flowers! Turns out relaxing on your porch during a rainstorm or heading out for a stroll after the clouds clear can brighten your outlook by 50 percent (making it one of the easiest spring activities on this list!). That’s the word from Columbia University scientists, who found that when the negative air ions produced by rain are absorbed by the body, they prompt the production of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin.

Quiet worries by critter spotting.

When tension creeps up, simply peek outside to look for birds, chipmunks, or rabbits. German scientists say gazing at animals in their natural habitat for five minutes helps you feel 65 percent more relaxed. Critter-spotting activates the parasympathetic nervous system, gently lowering heart rate and fostering a sense of tranquility.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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