April 2018 Wellness Article

Calgary - April 2018 Newsletter

By Karen Ogilvie 

It’s time for… wait for it… Sunshine!

Why is April so refreshing? Because it’s the light at the end of the winter tunnel! The snow is starting to melt, the flowers and trees are coming back to life, and the weather is getting warmer. And this means more sunshine! Think about wonderful feeling of the warm sun on your skin.

As I’m sure we’re all aware, there are a lot of benefits to sunshine. Right? Of course, we hear all about the dangers of sun: sun burn, aging skin, cancer. But there a balance because sunshine has so many benefits too. Sunshine increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This is associated with boosting your mood, bringing calmness and focus. All the things that help us feel so refreshed in the spring and helps us to maintain our mental health. The World Health Organization recommends that we should get 5- 15 minutes of direct sunlight 2-3 times a week. This should directly touch your skin to give you the vitamin D boosting benefits of the sun.

So, while you should always take preventative measures with the sun, make sure you get outside and take in that sunlight. Here are a few suggestions for some sunlight activities in early spring:

Head out for a walk. Calgary has great walking paths, so why not try somewhere new? Grab a coffee in Glenmore Landing and head out around the reservoir for a beautiful nature walk along the river. Or checkout Fishcreek Park. ‘Map My Walk’ has some great ideas where you can find a circuit of the length of walk your interested in. Check it out at http://www.mapmywalk.com/ca/calgary-alberta/.

Volunteer Gardening. Gardening is a great way to get some sunshine. But if you don’t have a backyard, it can be a little tricky. Why not volunteer? Grow Calgary is a Calgary’s Fresh Foodbank. An urban garden where 100% of the produce is donated to food accessible programs. They have lots of volunteer events where you can give back to the community while taking in the sun! Check it out at https://www.growcalgary.ca/

Hit the Mountains. We live so close to some of the most spectacular mountains in the world! Spend a weekend or just a day and take advantage of it. April means that you can do both winter and spring activities. Do a mountain hike. Snowshoe in Kananaskis. Go shopping in Canmore and wander up and down main street. Do whatever you’d enjoy!

Train for the Calgary Marathon. You don’t have to run actually run a marathon. The Calgary marathon has all sorts of distances, including a 5 km, 10, km, 21.1 km, 42.2 km, 50 km, and (if you really love running) a 150 km. Pick a distance and spend some time training for it. Just having a goal will help to get you out more leading up to it. This event is in May, so now is a great time to start thinking about a short distance run, and getting out for some walks and runs to lead up to it! http://www.calgarymarathon.com/

Calgary Ale Trail.  Once a month, RunCalgary offers a free 6km run where you can come out, run 6km and then join all the other runners for a drink at National! This is a great chance to get out, exercise and meet new people. Check out dates at https://www.runyyc.ca/ale-trail.