The time has come yet again to “spring forward” and set our clocks forward one hour this Sunday, March 13, 2016, at 2 a.m. While it is easy to focus on the loss of a precious hour of sleep and only 33% of Americans think that the purpose of daylight saving time is worth the hassle of having to set all of your clocks, this annual occurrence can actually be quite beneficial to your health and fitness in several ways![i]
To help you see the brighter side of daylight saving time, here are three reasons to get excited about it:
1. Sunshine & Vitamin D
Get your sunscreen and your shades ready because not only did the sun just get a later bed time, it’s also going to be staying out longer each day leading up to June 20 (the longest day of the year). That means there will be plenty of additional opportunities to get your daily dose of vitamin D, which can help strengthen your bones, maintain a healthy blood pressure, and even improve your mood![ii] Considering that the recommended amount of daily vitamin D (600 IU) is difficult to get in food alone —- you’d need to eat 30 ounces of cod or two 8-ounce cans of tuna to get just 400 IU —- this is excellent news![iii]
2. Seasonal Motivation
Daylight saving time also represents the approach of the spring season, which is the time of year when many people begin to make more of an effort to focus on their health and fitness! While hitting the slopes and attending ugly sweater parties is always a delight, the winter months presents tough sledding when it comes to your health and fitness. In fact, every year, Americans exercise less and have worse eating habits during the winter, compared to other seasons.[iv] But as the weather heats up during spring, people tend to get progressively more active and health conscious as they enjoy the additional sun and prepare for swimsuit season![v]
3. Less TV = More Physical Activity
The extra sunlight at the end of your day paired with the weather gradually warming up causes more people to turn off the tube and become more physically active! In fact, this is so substantial during the week following spring daylight saving time that television executives anticipate an annual drop in their TV ratings every year at this time and plan accordingly. The reason for this is that people are more eager to be active due to the additional sunshine and warmer weather![vi]
Two states in the U.S. don’t practice Daylight Saving Time — Hawaii and Arizona. If you live in either of these states sit tight and don’t change anything!
Try to start going to bed and waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than you normally would each day leading up to the time change to make your transition smoother.
Darkness in the Mornings
For those of you who wake up before the rooster crows, it may feel like the middle of the night when you open your eyes. Consider setting an additional alarm to make sure you get up on time the following week!
Don’t forget to set these clocks!
- Bedroom alarm clock
- DVD and or VCR
- Wrist watch (all of them if you have more than one)
- Wall clocks
- Phone (if it doesn’t automatically update)
- Computer or laptop (Again, if it doesn’t automatically update)
- Voice mail time stamps and answering machines
- Guest bedrooms
- Kid’s rooms and alarm clocks
- Hotel alarm clock – if you will be away for the weekend
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