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Posted on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Health benefits of spring including fresh produce and expanded workout options

By Melissa Gerharter MS, RD


public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons

Spring has officially begun, and with it comes tasty fruits and vegetables and the opportunity to diversify your workout!

One great way to take advantage of the spring season is to enjoy spring produce. Some popular spring fruits include all types of berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all colorful, nutritious, and easy to prepare.

Berries provide antioxidants to keep us healthy and prevent disease and cancer. For example one cup of tasty strawberries contains over 100 mg of vitamin C! Some simple, healthy ways to enjoy berries this spring include mixed into yogurt or light ice cream and blended with bananas and low-fat milk to make a smoothie.

Some of the best vegetables in spring are artichokes, asparagus and beets! Healthy options for preparing these vegetables include steaming, baking or even eating them raw. There are even some easy vegetable swaps to take advantage of those tasty in season vegetables. If you like arugula, try watercress, or if you like baby spinach, try baby bok choy, and if you like onions try scallions. These swaps provide different, rich nutrients to your diet.

Spring is also a great opportunity to spend more time outside, which allows you to change up your workout routine. Changing up your routine is good for your muscles and your mind. It helps to keep you motivated and engaged in your workouts.

Biking, walking and running are perfect exercises that allow you enjoy the outdoor benefits of spring weather. Check out a park or garden and explore the budding plants on run or walk.

Spring is also a great time to sign up for a fitness challenge or set a goal. Deadlines for an event are great motivators, especially when you have a training plan to follow!

Melissa Gerharter MS, RD, CSSD is co-owner of Joust Strength and Fitness of Ann Arbor. She is also a part time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. She can be reached at