by Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie, Certified Physical Trainer, CPT, WicketFiTT

I don’t know about all of you, but I love the warmer weather. Bring on that Vitamin D ! In preparation for the new season, here are some ideas to help you spring into better health. Some suggestions are small, while some are bigger, but I’d encourage you to choose a few of these tips to implement right away.
No waiting “to start on Monday” or “when I have time.” Just choose a few and get going!

1. Spring clean your house (or a room, closet or even one drawer). You know that dust contributes to allergies and asthma, but did you know that clutter can affect your health, too? Disorganization makes it difficult to find items you need. When you find yourself constantly wondering, “Where are my sneakers for the gym?” it’s time to get organized. The more time you spend looking for things, the more frustrated you may get and the more likely you’ll be to decide not to go to the gym. Clutter can also cause anxiety in many people (myself included!).

2. Start carrying a water bottle with you. It’s a lot easier to stay hydrated when you have the water right next to you. If you don’t like plain water, try infusing your water with fresh fruit. I love lemon and ginger.

3. Look for a new healthy recipe, and then actually make it. How many times do you pin a new recipe on Pinterest or tear one out of a magazine, but don’t actually cook it? (I do this often.) This week, take the time to purchase the ingredients and give it a try. Maybe share the recipe with your friends.

4. Check the nutrition facts online ahead of time for food at the restaurant you’re going to visit. You may be surprised that even some seemingly healthy salads at restaurants contain over 1,000 calories! Plan ahead to make an informed choice.

5. Open your purse or backpack – right now – and put some healthy snacks inside. Consider some baby carrots, portion-controlled servings of nuts, an apple or some dried fruit. One of the reasons we often make unhealthy choices while out is simply because we didn’t plan ahead.

6. Eat more fish. Seafood has many benefits, from being packed with protein to providing us with heart-healthy and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Make it a priority to eat fish at least once a week, preferably twice a week.

7. Strength train. Maybe you are a cardio girl (or guy) at heart, but strength training is also such an essential part of a well-rounded fitness routine. You don’t need to have a fancy gym membership either. Bodyweight exercises, like squats and push-ups, are very effective.

8. Visit a national, state or local park and go for a trail walk, run or hike. Fresh air and nature always does a body good. Spring is a perfect time to get out there – it’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, but not so hot that you are sweating a few minutes after walking out the door. P .S . D on’t forget that water!

9. Eat seasonal produce. Some of the healthiest vegetables come into season in spring. Asparagus is high in protein, low in calories and a rich source of various vitamins. It contains high levels of potassium, which may help to control blood pressure. Spinach is rich in iron, and a good source of many vitamins, including vitamin K.

10. Manage joint pain. If you have joint pain or arthritis, staying active can stop symptoms from worsening and help protect against osteoporosis by keeping joints moving and ensuring muscles around the area remain strong. But self-management also means balancing rest with activity and not overdoing it. Exercising in the morning and warm baths or hot water bottles can reduce stiffness, while ice packs can reduce any swelling.