Welcome to mid-April, where we start getting teased by warmer days that feel like Spring! The days are longer, the weather is slightly warmer, and everyone starts spending more time outside. As Spring-fever begins to get to us all, it is important to remember how to stay healthy as we start getting back outdoors after months of staying inside. Follow along for some tips on keeping your body aligned, hydrated, and healthy despite those inconvenient springtime allergies.
Safe Ways to Bend Your Body
As spring approaches, it is natural that we start spending more time outside doing a lot of spring cleaning activities. Things like gardening, lawn mowing, shoveling, painting, raking, etc. are all great forms of physical exercise that really get the blood flowing, but they can have lasting effects on your back, knees, and hips if you don’t keep your body aligned. There are some safe methods to practice when it comes to bending your body while doing outdoor (and even indoor) chores, and the more you do them, the better your body will feel after a long day of tending to your beautiful spring garden!
One of the most helpful tips that supports body-alignment is keeping your back straight. Whether you are bending all the way down to garden, or bending slightly to lift a heavy bag of fertilizer, it is crucial to keep your back as straight as possible. If you are lifting something up, position yourself so that your knees are slightly bent, and you are lifting the weight from underneath, using an under-handed grip on the object that you are lifting. While doing this, make sure your posture is straight from your hips up to your neck. This will put less pressure on your back, as you won’t be relying on your back muscles to lift the heavy object. It can be easy to pull a muscle or strain something if your back is not aligned while doing something strenuous like lifting a heavy object. Your back will thank you later!
If you are gardening, weeding, or doing anything that requires you to be at ground-level, it is also important to keep your back as straight as possible. One way to do this is to bend all the way down so that you are standing on the balls of your feet, with your back straight. You can also sit down cross-legged, or with your legs folded underneath you, as long as you are sitting up straight with your shoulders back to support your posture. Sometimes, though, this can lead to that uncomfortable pins-and-needles feeling in your feet, so it might be easier to just try sitting cross-legged on the ground! You can also bring a small stool or chair to sit in while you complete your tasks if you would rather not sit on the ground outside. The key to all these activities is sitting up straight and not rounding your back and/or straining your neck.
Hydration is one of the most important ways to keep our bodies healthy each day, as about 60-70% of our bodies are made up of water! No matter the season, we should be drinking about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or about 2.7 liters of water for women and 3.7 liters of water for men. But, as the weather gets warmer, it is even more important that we remember to keep ourselves hydrated. We tend to sweat more in the warmer months, and with the heat alone it is easy to forget to replenish our body’s water supply. Without it, we can become dehydrated, tired, and even sick. Drinking lots of water supports healthy digestion, energy levels, maintaining a healthy weight, skin, hair, nails, etc.! So, that is why it is extremely important to replenish your H2O levels before, during, and after a long day out in the warm sun.
Reusable, insulated water bottles can be helpful with hydration. There are some that contain measurements on the side of the bottle, that way you can keep track of the amount of water that you have consumed throughout the day! You can bring these with you anywhere, and you won’t have to worry about the water getting too warm or having to refill it. Depending on the size, you may have to refill it once or twice throughout the day, but they are perfect for on-the-go activities and they allow you to keep track of the amount of water you are drinking throughout the day.
Water carafes are also helpful to have, especially at night. Keeping a small reusable water carafe on your nightstand is a great way to keep yourself hydrated before you go to bed at night. Keeping a water bottle by your bedside is also just as helpful!
A helpful tip is to try keeping track of your water intake for a couple of days in a row. As you keep track and try your best to meet that 8×8 rule, write down how your body feels at the end of the day before you go to bed, and at the beginning of the day before you wake up. You will be sure to notice a positive difference with all that water intake!
Support Your Immune System
The changing of seasons, especially here in New England, can naturally cause some people to feel sick with allergy-like symptoms. As spring rolls in, our immune systems might not be as strong after being stuck inside all winter. Spring also comes with the most allergies, as pollen, plants, certain flowers, etc. can make people prone to allergies feel stuffy in the sinus area. While you should definitely talk to your doctor about any medications you need to use to help with certain allergies and illnesses, there are some great natural ways to support your immune health as we move into springtime!
Along with proper hydration, eating well will also help prevent you from getting sick. Try eating foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants every day. This will ensure that your body is getting the nutrients that it needs, which can help fight off those pesky spring-time colds. Proper sleep will also aid in your overall immune health. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night, so make sure that you are giving yourself the rest that you need and deserve each night. This will lower your chances of getting sick, and help you feel a lot better as you tackle your busy schedule each day.
Remember to get outside! If it is a nice warm, sunny spring day, be sure to get out and do something active for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will give your body some health exercise, along with vitamin D from the sunshine as well as fresh air. This can also help boost your overall mood and get the endorphins pumping. This is a great natural and easy way to support your own immune health, especially after being deprived of vitamin D from the sun all winter and even Fall. There is no better medicine than the outdoors and sunshine!
What’s In Your Garden?
As spring gets nearer, remember to tend to your “garden”! It is important to note that everyone’s “garden” looks different and has different needs. As the seasons change, we will all experience different levels of health issues, whether that be bodily aches or allergies. Since we all have different routines and activities that we like to do, these tips will vary for everyone. So, drink your water, eat your greens, take your vitamins, and get your body moving! Trust us, you will thank yourself!
If you have more questions about how to stay healthy as spring approaches, contact us today! We are happy to help.
Tags: physical therapy, health, pain relief, physical therapist, health and wellness, physical health, healthy tips, Physical Fitness, Fitness, Physical Activity, Arancia Physical Therapy, spring, back pain, Spring Garden