Every year as the season begins to change from winter to spring, clocks leap ahead, the light shifts, and we get just a little more pep in our step looking forward to the warmth and sunshine to come. While we still have a few chilly days to go before we can stash away those sweaters, now is the perfect time to step up our health and wellness game so we can greet the months ahead happier and healthier than ever.
Think of it as spring cleaning for your wellness routine—get moving more, nourish your skin and body, hydrate inside and out, make time to take care of yourself; and while you are at it, give your pantry a makeover too! Here are our spring health hacks for heading into the season with a renewed commitment to wellness.
Give Your Fitness Routine a Refresh
Been sitting this one out? We get it. It can be hard to stay as active as you should when it’s cold. Somehow walking up and down the stairwell doesn’t have the same ring to it as taking a nice stroll in the park. But now that the weather is changing, you can take advantage of the intermittent warmer days. Get out there, get moving and switch up your old routine. Here are some tips for moving more this spring, no matter the weather.
Join a Fitness Challenge
Many workplaces launch fitness challenges this time of year (some even have rewards!), and if yours does not, there are plenty of online challenges that do. Some apps even pay you to get fit! So, do a little research and see what new fitness challenges you can get involved in, or take the initiative and start your own!
Try a Fresh Take on Fitness
If you like your fitness routine, you will be more likely to stick to it. Also, switching things up now and then can help you find new activities to love. You can boost your strength and flexibility in fun, new ways regardless of the weather. On cooler days, try an indoor bouldering class, tai chi or a new yoga class. On warmer days, find new adventures outdoors. Get involved in community charity walks or runs, join a cycling meetup or rowing group, or challenge yourself to try something else you’ve never done before.
Fit in Mini Workouts
Being more active doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once, and it doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money or dedicate a big chunk of time to getting fit. You can make a big difference in your health by adding small bursts of activity throughout the day, every day. Stand up from your desk and stretch every 30 minutes. Take a walk around the office, take the long way to get coffee, park farther away from the door, and even try microworkouts, like a quick set of pushups in the morning, squats before lunch and yoga while catching up on the evening news.
Try an Activity Tracker
Wearable activity trackers, even just simple pedometers, are a great way to stay motivated. Set attainable daily move goals and stick to it! Being able to see your progress toward your goals throughout the day can be incredibly motivating.
Start with Small Intentions
Small daily efforts to move more will ultimately pay off in a big way. Even if you have big long-term goals, it’s the small daily intentions that will get you there, so set your daily goals accordingly. Make them attainable and you will be more likely to stick to them. You may even be inspired to go beyond that goal just to prove to yourself that you can! So instead of deciding to start walking a mile every day, commit to just walking around the block at first, and gradually increase those goals as your body and health habits grow stronger.
For more tips on fitting more activity into each and every day, read Move More: How to Move More Each Day.
Revamp Your Beauty Routine
Winter can be tough on your hair, skin and nails—the wind, cold air, dry heat indoors, constant temperature changes as we go in and out, and even winter inactivity can all add up to leave us with less–than–lustrous locks, dull skin and brittle nails. Spring is the perfect time to revamp your beauty habits and get your glow on before summer starts.
Look for Better Ingredients
Boost your beauty routine with nourishing nutrients for hair, skin and nails—like biotin, collagen, keratin and vitamin A. Learn more about ingredients that get you glowing in Brilliant Beauty Basics: Our Top Five Ingredients for Brilliant Hair, Skin & Nails.
Take Your Vitamins, Too
What you put inside your body almost always shows on the outside. Healthier food choices can work wonders for the health of your hair, skin and nails. It can be challenging to get all of your nutrients from food sources alone, so fill in nutritional gaps with real food vitamins.
Exfoliate for Vibrant Skin
Help shed that dry winter skin by adding gentle exfoliation to your beauty routine. Exfoliation helps reveal softer, more vibrant skin that’s prepped for hydration. Try a tea tree oil exfoliating scrub or switch out your regular soap for an exfoliating shea-butter bar.
Give your skin a healthy glow by opting for healthy, natural moisturizers like coconut oil or a gentle oatmeal vegan lotion that’s perfect for sensitive skin. Look for products with natural, recognizable ingredients to moisturize your skin.
Hydrate for Skin Health
Your skin is 64% water.1 And if you aren’t hydrated, your skin won’t be either. Glowing skin is just one of the many benefits of staying hydrated! For more tips on finding your inner and outer glow, see Brilliant Beauty Basics: Our Top Five Ingredients for Brilliant Hair, Skin & Nails.
Make Hydration a Habit
You know you should drink more water, right? Sure you do! But if you are like many people, you start out with good intentions and simply forget to drink enough of it! The good news is, you can make water a habit in no time at all with just a little effort. And you’ll feel so much better when you are hydrated. You’ll think more clearly, have more energy, be less hungry (it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger), and you might even be in a better mood since even mild dehydration may affect your mood.2 Every cell in your body needs water, so your body will be happier too. Here are some tips for making water a habit.
Start Your Day Hydrated
Drink a full glass of water as part of your morning routine. Drink it while you wait for coffee to brew or for the shower to heat up if that helps you remember.
Set Up Reminders
Add an entry to your phone or computer calendar that reminds you to drink water every hour or so, or download a smartphone app that will prompt you to drink water throughout the day and ask you to log each glass to keep track.
Get a Reusable Bottle
Get a refillable water bottle that you love and take it with you everywhere you go! Do the math to see how many times you need to fill it every day to meet your water quota. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAM) an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.3 That’s 124 ounces of fluids for men and 92 ounces of fluids for women each day. Your daily consumption of food, beverages and water all contribute to how much fluid you take in each day.
Drink Water at Mealtimes
Choose water instead of sodas or other sugary drinks with meals, or drink a glass of water both before and after each meal. Plus, drinking a glass of water before meals can aid digestion and help you feel fuller sooner.
Try Water Infusions
Make your daily water habit a little more exciting and nutritional with water infusions. Add fruit or other tasty ingredients to give your water more flavor and ward off beverage boredom.
Making better hydration a habit can be as simple as associating your water intake with other activities you already do every day. Learn more about the benefits of staying hydrated and get water infusion recipes by reading Water for the Win: Benefits of Water, Plus 5 Water Infusions to Try.
Make Self-Care a Priority, Not Just a Reward
Self-care shouldn’t just be a reward for meeting some other goal, and it definitely shouldn’t be limited to when you have spare time—you deserve better! And you know what else? Taking better care of yourself will leave you feeling more energized and ready to take care of everything else in your life. Get away from the self-care-as-a-reward mentality. Make yourself a priority, and you’ll feel more empowered and ready to face the challenges each day brings.
Essential oils and aromatherapy scents can trigger physiological responses.4 Lavender is calming, peppermint is invigorating, lemon is cheering and rosemary is clarifying. Learn about the history and benefits of aromatherapy in our Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Beginner's Guide to Using Essential Oils.
Meditation is like a much-needed timeout for your mind. Take a few minutes every day to clear your head, find your center and practice deep breathing. You’ll feel less stressed and happier.
Keep a Wellness Journal
Writing down your thoughts, feelings, stressful moments and even your daily meals is a great way to track habits and get to know yourself better. It may sound silly, but a wellness journal can help you be more mindful. You may also learn more about your stress triggers, how to get ahead of them, and what makes you feel the best overall!
Embrace Your Individuality
What makes you feel nourished and cared for may be very different from what other people like, so embrace what makes you unique! You might get more joy and relaxation out of spending a few hours with a good book than from taking a bubble bath—you do you!
For more tips on taking better care of yourself, read Take Care of U: 6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself.
Refocus Your Diet
Spring cleaning? Don’t forget your pantry. While you are at it, why not stock up on everyday superfoods and healthy, nutritious meal options to give your body prime fuel for health. We should get as many of our nutrients as we can from whole foods and rely on vitamins and supplements from real food sources only to fill in nutritional gaps.
That’s difficult to do if we eat a lot of processed foods. Foods that have undergone substantial processing are often lower in nutrients, higher in refined carbs and contain more artificial ingredients.5 When you clean out your pantry this spring, restock it with fresh, whole foods to refocus your diet and give your body optimal nutrition.
Start with the Staples
Restock your pantry with fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains. These nutritious whole foods should be your meal- and snack-time staples. Find more healthy-pantry staples in Pack Your Pantry: How to Make a Real Food Pantry.
Learn About Superfoods
Think all superfoods are exotic? No way! Superfoods are everyday foods that are particularly nutrient-rich and good for you. These foods should be staples on your grocery list. Some everyday superfoods include blueberries, avocados, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and vegetables.
Get Smart About Healthy Fats
Fat has a bad reputation, but some fats are actually good for you. Olive oil, coconut oil, and fats from salmon and avocados are all among the good guys. Learn more about healthy fats by reading Be Fat Fluent: Best Fatty Foods for Your Diet.
Spice up Your Life (and Your Dinner)
Herbs and spices do more than just give your food flavor, many spices have health benefits and some even have a long history as traditional health promoters, like turmeric. A lot of herbs and spices are nutrient–dense, so invigorate your taste buds and your health by adding them to your dishes.
Check out our guide to building a real food pantry in the article Pack Your Pantry: How to Make a Real Food Pantry.
Spring Into a Refreshing Health Routine
Springtime is the perfect time for a renewed focus on better health and wellness. So, while you are daydreaming of the warmth to come, put a plan into action and get your body moving, shape-up your beauty routine, hydrate, take better care of yourself, and pack your spring pantry with nutritional food choices.
Do you have more spring health hacks to share? We’d love to hear them! And tell us which Swanson Health products are helping you step up your wellness game this spring.
1 The Water in You. USGS Water Science School. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html (Accessed 3/12/2018)
2 Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22190027 (Accessed 3/12/2018)
3 Water: How much should you drink every day? MayoClinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy–lifestyle/nutrition–and–healthy–eating/in–depth/water/art–20044256 (1/18/2018)
4 Essential Oils: All–natural remedies and recipes for your mind, body and home. By Susan Curtis, Fran Johnson, Pat Thomas. https://books.google.com/books?id=EfSpDAAAQBAJ (Accessed 3/12/2018)
5 Nine ways that processed foods are harming people. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318630.php (Accessed 3/12/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This article was originally posted on 03/20/2018.