Spring is a time of new growth and beginnings. Flowers emerge from beneath the snow, trees blossom and dormant grass starts growing. Spring can mean a new beginning for you, too, to recommit to a healthier lifestyle. Rush Copley providers recommend 10 tips for a healthier you this spring.
1. Eat a healthy diet, including a good breakfast.
Good nutrition is key to a healthy body and healthy brain. Experts recommend eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. For a healthy body, Neha Sahni, MD, a gastroenterologist with Rush Copley Medical Group, recommends incorporating fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds into your diet.
For good brain health, Deborah Brunelle, MSN, RN, manager of Rush Copley’s neuroscience services, suggests eating broccoli, blueberries, green tea, eggs, oranges, and salmon and foods that contain omega-3.
And don’t forget to start your day off right — eating a healthy breakfast has been associated with better memory, decreased irritability and healthier body weight.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health. It’s good for your heart, joints, muscles and skin. It also helps improve your memory, mood and motivation.
3. Exercise your body.
Regular physical activity promotes lifelong health and well-being and helps prevent risk factors for heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other health conditions. It’s also good for your brain and can help protect against cognitive decline.
Exercise has immediate positive mental effects, such as boosting your mood and relieving stress by releasing endorphins, says Zane Lodico, a personal trainer at Rush Copley Healthplex. Exercise also increases energy levels and improves sleep quality.
4. Exercise your brain.
Read, do crossword puzzles, learn something new. Challenge your brain daily through work or play and keep it active.
5. Get enough sleep.
From children to older adults, sleep is important for individuals of every age. Lack of sleep can cause mood swings, irritability and difficulty concentrating, learning and problem-solving.
6. Mask up.
COVID-19 is still spreading throughout our communities, and one of the best ways to keep healthy is to practice the three Ws: Wear a mask, wash your hands often and watch your distance.
7. Get vaccinated against COVID-19 when it’s your turn.
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and our communities, and clinical studies have shown vaccines to be safe and effective. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns or questions about getting the vaccine. You can also find the most up-to-date information about the vaccine and vaccine appointments at Rush hospitals at rush.edu/vaccine.
8. Get an annual physical.
Be proactive about your health and talk to your primary care provider about any concerns or new issues. At your annual physical, your provider will help to make sure you are current on immunizations, including tetanus.
9. Limit consumption of alcohol and sweet drinks.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Sahni advises no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. You should also watch how many soft drinks and sweetened beverages you’re drinking because they contribute to weight gain and increase your risk for coronary artery disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
10. Help others.
Studies have shown that volunteering can help lower your blood pressure. It can also help you decrease pain, manage stress, live longer and be happier.