Spring is a season of growth. The days start to get longer and warmer, flowers start to bloom, and we begin venturing outside again. As we head into a new season, it’s an opportunity to try new things and create new habits. Here are some tips to help shape a healthy body and healthy mind.
Drink More Water
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water. From controlling temperature, digestion and elimination, transportation and circulation, water is essential to regulate many bodily functions. Our body uses water to carry out these bodily functions, so it’s important to ensure you drink enough water every single day. Signs of low water intake include fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, muscle cramps, twitches and spasms.
Tip: if you have a hard time drinking enough water, try starting your day with 1-2 glasses of room temperature water.
Get More Sleep
It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 1 in 2 adults have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, 1 in 5 do not wake up feeling refreshed, and 1 in 3 have a hard time staying awake throughout the day. Chronic stress, inactivity and poor mental health are some reasons adults are not sleeping well (2019).
A restful night’s sleep helps promote cellular repair, improves memory and learning, reduces stress, and supports growth and development. Short amounts of sleep and poor quality sleep has been linked with obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, depression and increased risk for injuries (Statistics Canada, 2017).
Tip: For many of us, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. To help promote healthy sleep hygiene, set a regular bedtime and wake time. Reduce stimulating activities such as watching tv, texting, high-intensity exercise, alcohol, and caffeine in the evenings as well.
Take Phone Breaks
We live in a society where we have instant access to people and information with the touch of a button. Though our smart devices have been a great way to connect with friends and family, our constant use of these devices also have health drawbacks. “Tech neck” is a term coined from repetitive strain on the upper body due to prolonged periods of slouched posture while using our smart devices.
Overuse of our smartphones and tablets may increase repetitive strain injuries to the neck, shoulders and even thumbs. It may also lead to an increase in headaches and jaw pain. In addition, the constant messaging, emails and calls can make it feel like you aren’t getting down time to rest and recharge.
Tip: Limit your phone use the hour before you go to bed and wake. It’s ok to put your phone on silent mode, or tell your friends that you will message them back the next day. Remember that instant access doesn’t mean you have to instantly reply.
Spend Time in Nature
As the weather warms and snow melts away, it’s time to swap our snow boots for running shoes. Going for a walk or hike is a great way for all ages to add exercise into your daily routine.
Whether you are out for a few minutes or a few hours, taking in the beautiful scenery along many of the well-maintained trails in Lanark County is a wonderful way to unwind, destress and help enhance not only your physical but mental health as well.
Tip: swap a phone call for a walk to catch up with a close friend or family member!
And remember when you pull out your running shoes from storage to check for wear and tear. Worn out or ill-fitting shoes can lead to low back pain, hip pain, knee pain or foot pain, and are a sign they need to be replaced.
Schedule Time for Self Care
Though we all know that we should eat well, exercise, sleep 7-9 hours and take time to rest and recharge, it’s not easy to fit all the healthy things in every day. Too often we try to squeak in that extra errand, finish a project or answer the never-ending emails that come across our screens, sacrificing our healthy habits in the process. By taking time to schedule self-care, people are more likely to stay committed to health goals and turn them into habits, which helps one’s overall mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Tip: Schedule your self-care. Do you have a specific time you like to have your monthly chiropractic care or massage? Book a few in advance so that it becomes part of your health routine.
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” — Jim Ryun
Dr. Elizabeth Carter