Spring is here. The snow has melted and the flowers are starting to emerge from their wintery hibernation. It’s time to put away the big, bulky sweaters and replace them with your spring and summer wardrobe. This is also the perfect time to overhaul any bad habits you may have gotten into over the winter. Here are some helpful tips for spring-cleaning your body.
Visit your farmers market
Local, in season produce is much more abundant this time of year. Head to your local farmers market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a great way to support your local economy and fill your refrigerator with healthy and delicious foods. Many supermarkets have begun stocking fresh, organic produce from local farms. Be sure to look for a display the next time you go grocery shopping.
Invest in new workout shoes
It is easy to overlook the importance of regularly replacing your exercise sneakers. Our feet, and in turn, our sneakers, bear the biggest brunt of our cardiovascular workouts. High impact exercises such as running and high-intensity cardio lead to the quickest wear and tear on workout shoes. This causes a breakdown in their ability to absorb the shock created from jumping and sprinting. Research has found that runners should replace your sneakers every 600 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first. If your exercise regimen consists of lower impact activities, you can stretch that time period to every 9-12 months. Be sure that your sneakers provide adequate support to your arches and ankles to avoid injury.
Organize your medicine cabinet
We all take the time to go through our closets and get rid of clothes we no longer wear. But many of us rarely look at the bottles and boxes lining our medicine cabinet. Expired medication loses its effectiveness and should be properly disposed of, as should any unused medication left after surgeries or illnesses.
April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Visit this website to find a collection site near you. If there are no collection sites close to your home or you would like to dispose of medications immediately, the FDA urges you to follow these steps. Mix any unused medication with an undesirable substance such as coffee grinds, cat litter or dirt. Place the mixture in a sealable plastic bag or empty can. Dispose of the bag or can with your regular garbage. You can always ask your pharmacist for their advice on disposing of unwanted or expired medication.
Allergy proof your home
Open up those windows and let out the stagnant air that has been filling your home all winter. Focus on the spots above our heads and below our feet that we often overlook. In other words, wash curtains and drapes and wipe down ceiling fan blades and light bulbs. Vacuum the hard to reach nooks under beds and furniture. Take area rugs outside for a good beating. Wash all comforters and throw blankets. Replace any air filters you may have in your heating or air conditioning systems.
Refresh your workouts
If the thought of stepping onto the elliptical machine or treadmill is enough to make you scream, it is time to shake up your workouts a bit. Sign up for a Zumba or yoga class. Grab a friend and try a spin class. Lace up your sneakers and walk the track at your local high school. Changing up your workout routine is an easy way to recommit to your health and to re-energize your body.
Take advantage of the more frequent warm days by stepping outside. Breathe in the crisp air and let the sun rejuvenate you with its rays. Clean off your outdoor furniture and gather any braches or other debris that may have accumulated on your yard over the winter. Take 15 minutes each day to find an excuse to sit outside and enjoy the change of seasons.
Get your yearly physical
Most of us only visit the doctor when we are sick. The spring is the perfect time to visit your general practitioner for a well visit. It is vital that your primary care physical have a baseline of various health markers such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Make appointments with any specialists you may see, such as a gynecologist, urologist, cardiologist and dentist.
Purge your pantry
Behind the closed doors of the pantry often lurk the hidden temptations that are difficult to resist. Those half-eaten boxes of cookies and bags of chips call to us at our moments of weakness and threaten to derail our healthy eating. Get rid of the enticement by throwing out all the unhealthy junk food camping out in your pantry. Take an afternoon to completely empty out your cabinets and organize your shelves for easy access to the spices, condiments and healthy snacks you reach for on a daily basis.
Re-think portion sizes
The clean plate club is one club that no one should be a member of. Many of us were told again and again as kids to finish all of the food on our plates. Unfortunately, that message has programmed us to eat past the point of feeling full. Listen to your body and put the fork down when you are satiated. Consider switching to smaller size plates to trick your brain into thinking you are eating a larger sized portion than you actually are.
Fire up the barbecue
We have all been guilty of taking the easy way out when it comes to making dinner by ordering in take-out or picking up food from a local fast food restaurant. The warmer weather is the perfect excuse to dust of the BBQ and grill up some healthy foods. Chicken, fish, steak and fresh vegetables are delicious when grilled. Marinate overnight to really let the flavors soak in.
When it comes to spring-cleaning, think beyond the usual chores of putting away winter coats and washing the windows. Take some time to re-think your health habits and routines. Embrace the start of this season of growth and re-focus your goals towards becoming the healthiest version of yourself.