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Change of season
Change of season: all the pitfalls and tricks to deal with it in the best possible way
Often the climatic variations of spring bring with them a series of typical disorders, but these can be dealt with by putting some simple measures into practice. Let’s take a look at these measures together.
Spring fever exists and it affects pretty much everyone during this season. Several factors could be at play, including changes in temperature, which becomes milder, and the days getting longer. This is a tiring phase for the body, which most often struggles to adapt after the long winter period.
The main symptom linked to the effects of the change of season is asthenia, i.e. a mix of fatigue, listlessness, tiredness and a drop in mood, which occurs precisely during the changes of season.
A feeling of irritability, difficulty in concentrating, headaches and drowsiness, caused by sleep disturbances that can occur as a result of the changeover from winter time to summer time, often contribute to worsening the general state of fatigue.
To regain your sprint, including your mental sprint, at this time of year it is more necessary than ever to provide your body with vitamins, minerals and fibre. You also need other substances to fuel your body and mind and get them moving again, such as amino acids (especially creatine, arginine, beta alanine) and omega-3 fatty acids. All these substances can be found in certain foods, which should be wisely brought to the table.
Firstly, fruit and vegetables: in total, you should consume five portions a day, excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers. It’s also important that they’re preferably in season and that all five colours of vegetables and fruit are present every day: white like fennel and pear; yellow and orange like carrot and melon; red like tomato and cherry; green like salad and kiwi; blue/purple like blueberry and aubergine. Why? Each specific colour indicates the presence of particular groups of vitamins and minerals. Together, these micronutrients work synergistically and perform various functions, for example protecting cells from oxidative stress or contributing to the normal function of the immune system.
Nuts (i.e., pistachios, walnuts and almonds) should also be eaten every day, and at least three times a week it’s useful to include legumes and fish products, i.e. fish and shellfish, in the menu.
It’s also essential to remember to drink water: the optimal daily dose is two litres. Among other things, food has its uses in counteracting digestive disorders related to the change of season. Avoiding hot spices, fried foods and preferring, especially in the evening, a light dinner helps to avoid weighing down the digestive processes.
To improve the efficiency of the immune system, increase vitality, eliminate the state of malaise and make the body more ready to react, it’s essential to devote time every day to physical activity, which also improves mood because it causes a decrease in the production of cortisol, not coincidentally called the ‘stress hormone’ and, conversely, an increase in the level of endorphins, the wellbeing hormones.
It’s all well and good to opt for the stairs and walk instead of taking the bus, but more is also needed. It’s advisable to do aerobic sports at least three times a week, i.e. activities consisting of moderate effort to be performed for long periods of time. This includes cycling and exercise bikes, walking, swimming, cross-country skiing and Nordic walking.
To promote a good night’s sleep, medium-intense physical activity should not be done in the evening hours in any season. Exercise thus helps to regain lost sleep in the evening. To this end, it’s also necessary to follow the so-called rules of sleep hygiene for a good rest, which allow you to fight stress and generally eliminate all those bad habits that give you sleepless nights. First of all, apart from the greater or lesser number of hours of daylight, the times at which you go to bed and wake up must be kept as unaltered as possible and, even if you didn’t get any sleep at night, daytime naps must be avoided, especially after dinner, before going to bed. In the evening, it’s good to allow yourself some relaxation to relieve the pressure accumulated during the day due to the rhythms of work, such as reading a book, devoting yourself to house plants or to a hobby and walks with friends.
Finally, it’s worth taking advantage of sunny days to stay outdoors. Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s production of two very important neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, substances that have a beneficial effect on mood. Basking in the warmth of the spring sun every day is also good for the skeletal system and reduces the risk of fragility. Sunlight activates the production of vitamin D in the skin, an essential substance because it contributes to the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and the maintenance of normal bones.
If, in spite of the lifestyle you’ve adopted, you’re still experiencing the typical complaints of the change of season, help from outside can be useful. For example, the need for a multivitamin and multimineral supplement can be assessed in cases of excess fatigue and exhaustion, to aid the body and provide the necessary support.
Vitamins and minerals play an irreplaceable role in the proper functioning of the metabolism (such as calcium and certain B vitamins) and the immune system (such as zinc and vitamin D). The memory, meanwhile, can be nourished using food supplements based on substances useful for brain activity, such as omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain normal brain function, and some B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
If fatigue is accentuated after physical activity, a mix of potassium and magnesium, the two minerals that are most lost through sweating, can help regain strength. Against poor quality sleep due to variations in the number of daylight hours, products based on melatonin, which reduces the time you fall asleep, are effective.
Finally, a vitamin D supplement is a good idea, since this is the substance naturally synthesised by the body with exposure to sunlight, when the winter has been particularly long and has passed without the benefits of sunlight in contact with the skin.