The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. Spring is just around the corner! That means brighter sunshine, warmer weather and more opportunities to comfortably enjoy the great outdoors while exercising. When you’ve been cooped up indoors all winter, you might be itching to head outside and get active. And this season provides so many opportunities to do just that. Are you wondering how to stay active in spring? Check out these creative methods of staying active in warmer weather — you might not even realize you’re exercising!
Go for a picnic
After a cozy winter inside the house, there’s almost nothing more energizing than basking in nature. Pack a basket with a healthy, bright meal — chicken pesto pita pockets, anyone? — and take a walk to a peaceful picnicking spot. Bring along a ball to toss to keep the afternoon active when you’re done munching.
Head out on a hike
Walking is one of the gentlest forms of exercise. Combine it with beautiful scenery, and you have a recipe for a wonderful workout. Strap on sturdy shoes and head out to some local nature trails to breathe in the fresh air and get your blood pumping. You’ll feel rejuvenated in no time.
Has your bicycle spent the winter stored away in the garage? Invite it out for a spin around the neighborhood to get in a workout and see all the plants blooming. Head down to the local farmers’ market to stock up on healthy produce for a spring salad. Or, ride down to the waterfront and enjoy the warm breezes and soothing waves. An afternoon of moderate cycling is a great way to ease back into a regular workout routine.
Tend your garden
Gardening doesn’t just help you grow your own food — it’s more productive than you might think. Planting seeds, pulling weeds and harvesting backyard crops involves a wide range of movements that activate different muscle groups and engage your whole body. Plus, you’ll get to reap what you’ve sown in the form of healthy fruits, veggies and herbs that bring new nutrients and fresh flavors into your diet.
Join a pickup league
Do you miss the friendship and athletic challenges of high school team sports? Other people in your area do, too! Join a pickup sports league with likeminded players. You can meet with local groups to try everything from soccer and softball to tennis, kickball and tossing a Frisbee around. You’ll make new friends and enjoy sunny springtime sights around your community in the process.
Tips for enjoying spring activities
After a relaxing winter, you might be impatient to get outside and start moving. Keep these useful tips in mind. They’ll help you make sure you stay injury-free as you ramp up activity levels in spring:
Stay stretched. Even if you’re not trying high-intensity workouts, it’s still important to loosen your muscles. Staying flexible helps you move better.
Get hydrated. Drinking enough water is important even when you aren’t sweating in the sun. Bring a bottle along, whether you’re heading out for a walk or strapping on your bike helmet.
Apply sunscreen. Late spring through early summer is when the sun’s rays are strongest. Always apply sunscreen to exposed skin, especially your face, ears, neck and hands.
Instead of grabbing the tissues, use these ten tips to treat allergies instead.
After a long and gray winter, the vibrant colors of spring are usually greeted with a cheer. However, for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies, that greeting can come in the form of a box of tissues instead.
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or rhinitis, are most frequently associated with sneezing and itchy eyes. However, they also can include headaches, sinus issues, nasal congestion and coughing.
And if blooming trees and plants weren’t enough, windy days can scatter the tree or grass pollen in all directions. Meanwhile, spring rain sends the mold count soaring.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to control your allergies without medicine. One of the best places to start? Environmental control.
Outsmart your sniffles with these 10 tips for preventing spring allergies:
Postpone outdoor activities until later in the morning. Pollen counts are usually highest between 5 and 10 a.m.
Take your shoes off as soon as you go indoors. This helps prevent pollen tracking.
Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning, even on pleasant spring nights.
Stay indoors when the pollen count or humidity is reported to be high as well as on windy days, when dust and pollen blow throughout the air.
Keep your windows up and turn on the air conditioning while driving.
Don’t hang your laundry out to dry. Often, allergens will hang on them.
Wear a filter mask when mowing the lawn or raking leaves.
Wash your bedding in hot water weekly.
Shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed.
If you have a pet that goes outside, wipe off their fur before they come back in.
Even after taking these precautions, many people need to use allergy medications to help get through the worst of the season. To find an over-the-counter or prescription medicine that’s right for you, check with your primary care doctor.
If your allergies persist, your doctor may recommend you see an allergist to determine the allergens that are causing your reactions. If you’re in need of a primary care physician to speak with about preventing spring allergies, find a doctor near you.
Sweet, juicy, bright and abundant — who doesn’t love sinking their teeth into a delicious peach or munching on crunchy radishes? Springtime delivers a bounty of fresh, natural foods that are brimming with color and flavor. Another great thing about spring fruits and veggies is that they’re nutritional powerhouses. They can help your body naturally get the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Are you ready to try some of the best? Add a few — or all — of these seasonal stunners into your snacks and meals this spring.
Ripe, ruby-red strawberries are some of the healthiest spring fruits around. They’re packed with vitamin C and potassium, which can help your immune system stay strong. Strawberries also have a type of nutrients called flavonoids. These natural chemicals can help reduce inflammation in your body. Eat your freshly picked strawberries within a few days to enjoy the freshest flavors.
Bring a taste of the tropics to your table with bold, juicy mangoes. Like strawberries, mangoes contain flavonoids that can keep your blood pressure stable, strengthen your bones and even reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Their niacin — a type of vitamin — helps your body draw more energy from the food you eat, too. Snack on fresh, sweet mango cubes, or toss them in a salad with shrimp, cilantro, avocado and tomato.
These stalky spears are a springtime staple that stay in season from March all the way through June. Tender asparagus is a great source of fiber that keeps your digestive system working smoothly. It also contains a vitamin called folate that can boost your memory and help your brain process information quickly. Try your asparagus steamed and finished with a spritz of lemon juice.
Earthy, sweet beets are famous for their rich red color — and they’re rich in nutrients, too. These root vegetables are loaded with potassium, a mineral that helps your nerves and muscles stay healthy. You can even eat beets’ leaves to get an extra dose of vitamin A, which keeps your eyes bright and your skin clear. Roast beets in the oven with olive oil and salt to create a mellow suppertime side dish.
This versatile veggie is great grilled, baked and even raw. No matter how you choose to eat it, you’ll get the heart-healthy benefits of potassium in every bite. One serving of this type of squash also provides over 30% of your daily vitamin C requirements. That’ll help your bones stay strong and protect you against harmful molecules called free radicals, which can damage your body’s cells. Try using shredded, sauteed zucchini in place of pasta with your favorite sauce.
Tart and tasty cherries are some of the best spring fruits to enjoy when you want an easy snack. When you pop a cherry in your mouth, you’re giving your body fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are nutritional compounds that may play a role in preventing cancer. These tangy fruits are also a natural source of melatonin. This chemical can help you get better sleep and make it easier for your body to create new cells.
Bon Secours Physical Therapy has outpatient nutrition services where you can be assessed by registered dietitians. Several of our dietitians have additional certifications in weight management, diabetes education and sports nutrition. Our nutrition staff provides personalized nutritional advice based on your medical history, condition, individual needs and goals along with sport specific nutrition. We offer flexible hours and convenient locations throughout Richmond. For more information, visit here.
Having a healthy diet is a vital part in living a healthy life. However, most people don’t start considering their colon health until they reach their 50’s. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. One in 22 men and one in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
The good news? Colorectal cancer can be detected early and also can be curable. Use these tips to help lower your chances for colorectal cancer.
Focus on fiber
Increasing your soluble and insoluble fiber intake assists your colon with a wide range of gastral problems, including colorectal cancer, diverticular disease, and constipation. Great foods to help increase your fiber intake include whole grains, bran, oatmeal, almonds and more. The average person consumes around 15 grams of fiber a day, but 25 to 30 grams is ideal.
Lowering your sugar intake can make a vast change in your colon health. While sugar has not been directly linked with the development of colon cancer, foods high in sugar are often high in calories and can lead to weight gain and obesity.
Limit alcohol and red meat
A little alcohol can occasionally be okay, but studies have shown that excessive drinking has been linked to colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women are a suitable amount.
Limiting your red meat and processed meats can help with reducing saturated fat intake. Fatty cuts of meat high in saturated fat have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. Processed foods such as hot dogs, bacon, salami, and deli meats are also high in saturated fat and should only be consumed in limited quantities.
Focus on omega-3s
Salmon is a great way to receive nutrients you need for a healthy colon. You’ll get omega-3s as well as vitamin D in 3-ounces of salmon. Omega-3s found in many types of fish can reduce inflammation and improve the function of colon cells.
Most doctors agree that adults should have a colonoscopy at age 50 and, if normal results, a follow-up colonoscopy every 10 years annually. However, doctors have recognized several risk factors that are believed to make some individuals more susceptible to developing colon cancer, and therefore may consider testing at a younger age. These risk factors include:
Having a first-degree relative whose been previously diagnosed
Being of African-American descent
Having certain hereditary conditions
If it’s time for your colonoscopy or you think you may be at risk because of the above factors, your primary care doctor can help. If you need a physician, our team is here for you. Reach out to find a doctor.
As temperatures warm up this spring and we spend more time outdoors, simple daily habits can help protect your skin from cancer.
Decisions on whether you wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen or choose to sit in the shade all make a difference in how much you expose your skin to ultraviolet light – a risk factor for skin cancer.
It doesn’t matter what color your skin is or whether you never get a sunburn. Skin cancer can affect anyone. It’s the most common type of cancer nationwide. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. More than 9,000 people are expected to die this year from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Despite widespread media campaigns about skin cancer prevention, many people do not practice daily sun safety precautions. And millions of Americans continue to use indoor tanning, which can increase the risk of melanoma.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. Once you get into the habit of wearing sunscreen and seeking shade, it becomes second nature. Parents can help protect their children from developing skin cancer by encouraging healthy habits early on.
Follow these four tips from federal health authorities to lower your risk for skin cancer:
Wear sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy outside.
Choosing the right sunscreen can help you lower your risk of skin cancer. Make sure your sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Select a water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outdoors.
While creams work well for your arms, legs and face, you may find it easier to use a sunscreen stick around your eyes. Don’t forget to wear lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 and to apply sunscreen on the tops of your feet, your ears and the back of your neck.
You should reapply sunscreen about every two hours or sooner if you go swimming or are sweating. Remember, a higher SPF does not mean it provides longer protection.
If you use a sunscreen spray, make sure you don’t breathe it in. Never spray sunscreen directly on your face. Sunscreen sprays should not be used if the person is going to be near an open flame or another source that may give off sparks, according to the Food and Drug Administration. This includes people lighting cigarettes, grilling and burning candles. In the past, people wearing sunscreen sprays who got close to sources of flame suffered significant burns.
Avoid indoor tanning.
Embrace your skin’s natural color. Don’t use tanning beds because they increase your risk for skin cancer. Using an indoor tanning bed before age 35 can increase your risk for melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get sunburns either. Indoor tanning will still raise your risk of melanoma, research shows. Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.
Cover up, seek shade.
If it seems like you always get sunburned in the late spring or early summer, it’s because UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during this time. As a general rule, the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of the easiest ways to protect your skin is to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants and seek the shade. Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays. You can also wear sun-protective clothing that’s lightweight and breathable.
Talk to your health provider about your skin cancer risk.
Some people have a greater risk for skin cancer. Getting sunburned as a kid and having blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, a history of indoor tanning or a personal or family history of skin cancer are considered risk factors for skin cancer.
If you’re worried about a new mole or changes in your skin, see your health provider. Melanomas can grow for a long time under the top layer of skin, which allows them to be detected early, according to the National Cancer Institute. It’s easier for doctors to treat melanoma if it’s found before it spreads.
Easily schedule an appointment online with healthcare provider near you by going to BonSecours.com/Schedule on your phone, tablet, or computer.