It has been a long winter which goes along with a very long two years. In spite of the pandemic, I recommend that when the season changes it is a good idea to check in with our overall health. What are we doing to improve or maintain our health and what habits could be a negative effect on our health? There are many things we can be doing for our health at this time and they are not all related to preventing COVID.
1. Examine your diet
It is springtime. It is time to think about incorporating more seasonal produce into your diet. We are coming into the green season. Why not make the effort to choose some local produce? When you eat local, you not only support your local farmers and economy, but you also help the environment by eliminating long distance transportation. Spring produce includes arugula or any leafy greens, asparagus, garlic scapes, scallions, and strawberries.
You might want to consider joining a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture). You pay the farmer up front for a season's worth of produce. It is a great way to incorporate new vegetables into your diet. I have an entire past blog post on how much I love my CSA.
2. Start or continue your outdoor exercise routine
The days will eventually become warmer and we will have more hours of daylight which is a perfect combination for exercising outdoors. The American Heart Association recommends moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity.
You might want to consider incorporating a walk into your day. Regular walking can reduce your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, stroke, and some cancers. It will also decrease your stress level and can help you lose weight. Walking among trees has been shown to lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system too. Green exercise (a term for outdoor exercise) has been shown to boost our moods.
Gardening which includes planting, weeding, raking, and mowing the lawn counts towards your 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians has said that doctors should "prescribe a course of gardening for people who come to them with depression or stroke".
3. Protect yourself from the sun
Remember if you are spending time outdoors to wear sunscreen. A hat and sunglasses are also helpful in protecting you from the sun's rays. As the temperature rises, remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. It's a good idea to carry a water bottle with you. Make an effort to use a reusable one to help the environment.
4. Check in with your doctor
Schedule your physical and make sure you are up to date with your screenings and vaccinations. Are you up to date on all your immunizations and screening.
5. Continue with the COVID prevention habits.
We are still in the midst of the pandemic. Even though the number of cases have dropped there are still cases in the community. Be vigilant. If you are going to be indoors in a crowded venue, wear a mask. Make sure you are fully vaccinated and that includes booster shots.
If you are overwhelmed by your healthcare concerns or do not know where to start, please reach out to me. As a healthcare advocate, I can give you the advice you need to manage your health. Have a safe and healthy spring.