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10 Best Ways to Spring Clean Your Health

Mature Asian couple (60s) in the park, riding bicycles.

The spring season is all about getting your house in order, preparing for a fresh start, and, of course, cleaning. And while it's common practice to seek out ways to declutter and tidy up around the house in preparation for spring, all too often people forget to focus on their health, failing to realize that their physical and mental well-being need a good spring cleaning just as much their homes do. With the help of doctors, therapists, and other medical experts, we've compiled some spring health tips that will help you start the season off on the path to a leaner, cleaner, and healthier you.


1

Pay a visit to your local farmer's market.

Black woman shopping for vegetables at the farmer's market

In the spring, take advantage of the farmer's market and stock up on seasonal, straight-from-the-farm produce. Some great things to grab are kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, spinach, asparagus, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, wild-caught salmon, free-range meats, and eggs. In diversifying your diet, gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD, author of Fiber Fueled, says that you are helping "support a healthy gut microbiota."


2

Reset your sleep schedule.

Senior black man sleeping well

When we spring forward for Daylight Saving Time in March, it can really mess with our sleep cycles. But if you want to work on your health this spring, focus on resetting your sleep schedule ASAP.

"A lack of adequate sleep has been linked to many problems like stress, fatigue, and even cardiovascular disease," says Omiete Charles-Davies, MBBS, who leads the team at health information site 25 Doctors. "You can improve your mental health, alertness, physical condition, and productivity by getting adequate sleep."


3

Turn off your phone before going to bed.

Smartphone sitting in a charger

What better time of year than spring to change your phone habits—especially the ones that are interrupting your sleep and affecting your health. Before you get ready for bed, make a point to turn off your phone and/or put it somewhere where you won't be tempted to use it. Why? "It creates the opportunity for you to set boundaries, it reduces your exposure to blue light prior to sleep, and it makes space for you to decompress without the pressures of social media, work emails, and constant communication," says Allie Friedmann Finkel, a licensed therapist at Kind Minds Therapy


4

Consider replacing your mattress.

Man shopping for a new mattress

Have you been dealing with neck and back problems all winter long? If so, you may want to add a new mattress to your list of things to buy this spring. According to Sleep Advisor, old mattresses can contribute to back pain, be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and harbor tens of millions of dust mites, which many people are allergic to.

All mattresses are different, so ultimately it's up to you to decide when your mattress has become unusable. Typically speaking, though, Sleep Help notes that the average mattress lasts up to 10 years.


5

And your running shoes.

Man running on the treadmill at the gym

For all you runners—and dedicated walkers—out there, consider investing in a new pair of running shoes in the spring. According to a 2017 study in the Journal of Biomechanics, running shoes lose anywhere from 16 to 33 percent of their heel cushioning after about 300 miles of use. If you run 20 miles a week, you'll need to start looking at running shoe replacements after approximately four months. If you're a serious runner, try to make it a yearly rule to buy new running shoes every spring and fall.

6

Spend more time outside.

Woman running outside in the park

There's no better time of year to get outside than when the snow gives way to greener pastures—not just because it's pretty, but also because it's good for you. According to 2017 research in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, simply being in the presence of flowers and verdure can decrease cortisol levels, especially if you're doing something active while taking in nature.


7

Take a walk every day.

Indian man walking around outside

Once the weather warms up, there's no reason why you shouldn't be walking outside more. If you're not yet used to too much physical activity, "start by walking five minuets away from your house, turning around, and walking back. Build up until you're walking a total of 30 minutes per day," suggests Gil Kentof, DC, founder of the Dr. Gil Center for Back, Neck, and Chronic Pain Relief. Adding just 30 minutes of outdoor walking a day into your routine will burn some serious calories and expose you to all the health benefits nature has to offer.


8

Try some new workout classes.

A multi-ethnic group of adult women are dancing in a fitness studio. They are wearing athletic clothes. Two women are laughing while dancing together.

When the weather outside warms up in the spring, it's the perfect time to switch things up in your workout routine. Trying new types of workouts is "a great way to improve your health and stay motivated," explains professional fitness instructor Marielle Chartier Henault, founder of AquaMermaid. One 2019 study published in PLOS One concluded that switching up your workouts can not only keep you motivated, but also help your muscles grow.


9

Check on your feet.

Woman checking her foot for any issues

The winter can wreak some serious havoc on your feet. That's why licensed physician Leann Poston, MD, a contributor at Invigor Medical, suggests paying close attention to your peds once the season is over.

"Check for scaling, bunions, peeling nails, or signs of fungal infections and sores that are not healing," she says. "Look for abnormal changes in shape or pain in the toes and arch and at the base of the big toe and heel." If you notice anything unusual, make sure to consult your primary care provider or a podiatrist.

10

And your skin.

Woman looking at the skin on her shoulder

You should also devote some attention to your skin—not just in the summer when the sun is strongest, but throughout the year. "Look for any marks, sores, or lesions that have changed or look abnormal," Poston says. Use the American Cancer Society's self-exam guidelines to give yourself a thorough check from head to toe—and if anything looks unusual to you, make an appointment with a dermatologist to get it examined further.

By Opera News

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