Spring is a season of renewal and a perfect time of year to make some simple, healthy adjustments to your lifestyle. Rather than overhauling your entire way of life, it is best to make manageable, incremental changes. Here are my top five suggestions to making a shift toward a healthier lifestyle.
1. Get outside
There’s nothing like the scent of a spring day or the sight of a nesting cardinal to invigorate us. The buzz we get from nice weather is not just imagined. There are proven invigorating health benefits from the sun. In addition to improving mood and energy, the sun supplies the body with Vitamin D, which aids in everything from calcium absorption to metabolism regulation. A quick lounge in the sun during a morning work break or a lunchtime stroll will help you soak up healthy amount of rays. Just remember, it’s important to avoid overexposure to the sun and to protect your skin and eyes.
2. Move Your Body
Even moving around a few extra minutes a day can improve both your physical health and mental outlook. Physical activity not only helps you manage your weight, but it has also been proven to combat chronic disease, boost your energy level, and improve your sleep. Find clever ways to incorporate activity into your daily schedule. Here in the Charleston Naturally office, Sara has switched out her desk chair for an exercise ball, which keeps her core muscles engaged all day, and has begun taking her dog Honey on longer walks after work each day; then walking herself on our Cooper River bridge!
Doing good for others is one of the most rewarding ways to improve yourself. As springtime opens up a new realm of fun, look foroutdoor volunteer activities. One of my favorites includes park and community cleanup work and, for you sporty types, youth athletic team coaching. Check out Keep America Beautiful to see how you can improve your neighborhood: http://www.kab.org and the National Alliance for Youth Sports for information on becoming a coach: http://www.nays.org/.
4. Change your Diet
From losing weight to gaining energy, there are many reasons for people to adjust their food intake. One of the changes I have made in my diet is to prepare my own meals. While restaurant, carryout, and frozen foods can be laden with oils and preservatives, home-cooked meals contain only the ingredients I choose to put into my body. I have been particularly inspired by bloggers such as Willi Galloway of Diggin Food, who prepares cuisine with ingredients from her organic garden. If growing your own backyard garden is out of the question, don’t fret. Organic grocery stores and local fruit and veggie vendors are great alternatives.
5. Laugh more
If you’ve ever stopped by the Charleston Naturally offices, you’ve seen firsthand that we laugh a lot. According to TheHelpGuide.org, laughter reduces tension and stress, protecting the immune system; triggers endorphin release, elevating mood; and increases blood flow, strengthening the heart. The cliché is true: laughter really is the best medicine!
What tiny changes have you made in your life? If you have any suggestions or comments, we’d love to hear them.