Spring Cleaning Your House & Health

Spring has arrived!  I am looking outside and enjoying the baby pink flowers that have sprouted on the trees around my house.  Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite parts of this season.  What is your favorite part of spring?

Spring is a time of renewal.  What things do you change or start when the days start getting longer?  Most of us are getting ready, if you haven’t already done so, to start the big Spring Clean!  Cleaning our homes from the buildup of fall and winter is important, but did you know that you could be “Spring Cleaning” your health too?

  • Getting Outside & Exercising: Breathing in fresh air is essential to a healthy body.  Fresh air cleans your lungs, improves brain function, and over time increases stamina while working out.  According to Dr. Andrew Lepp of Kent State University, outdoor recreation has a number of benefits.  From better self-esteem, more confidence, creativity, and reduced stress levels, to more productivity at work and an improved functioning immune system.  The CDC recommends getting at least two and a half hours of exercise a week or just thirty minutes a day, five days a week.  Taking a walk, riding your bike or gardening are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors, in a fun healthy way!

  • Keeping a Clean, Dust Free Living/Working Environment: Dust mites are all over our indoor living and working spaces, as well as in the air.  These small particles can cause asthma in children, aggravate hay fever, and make people very ill.  While we can’t get rid of them completely, we can keep them under control with some easy steps.

    • Make a point to dust your house systematically.  Following a specific path around your house helps ensure that you’ll remember to clean all those dusty places each time.
    • Work top to bottom- you don’t want to dust the bottom shelf only to do the top next and have particles drop back on your clean surface.
    • Don’t forget your couch and bed.  Most vacuum cleaners have attachments; this is a great way to get the couch clean.
    • Use a damp cloth so the dust is picked up and not displaced.

  • Stocking Your Kitchen with Fresh, Wholesome Food: These are some of the fresh fruits and vegetables you’ll find in during the spring. Shopping locally (especially at farmer’s markets) and eating produce that’s in season helps keep your body in sync with the natural rhythms of spring. Increase the number of raw foods in your diet during spring.

    • Apricots
    • Artichokes
    • Arugula
    • Asparagus
    • Beets
    • Mint
    • Peas
    • Strawberries
    • Sweet Onions

  • Go See Your Doctor: When was the last time you had a physical?  Checking in with your doctor, even when you’re healthy can help keep you healthy.  These appointments can encourage a healthier lifestyle, keep you up to date on vaccines and assess any future health concerns.  How often you go is something to talk to your doctor about but there are general guidelines for age groups too.

  • Natural Detox: There’s lots of talk about detox diets and “cleanses” in the news these days. But the most potent detoxifier of all is free: water! Without enough water, your liver can’t process fat or toxins, so abundant water consumption is the first step in any weight loss or detox process.  The rule of thumb recommendation is eight, eight-ounce glasses a day (or 64 ounces daily.)  You’ll need more when you’re physically active.  Sip water continuously rather than chug-a-lugging large glasses—you’ll benefit more from it that way.  Water is most healthful when it’s room temperature rather than ice-cold, but if that’s what it takes to get you to drink enough, add some ice.  The reason behind all the water is to flush out toxins in the body through our kidneys.  Another way to excrete body toxins is through sweating.  Whether you sit in a sauna or better yet, exercise (two steps in one,) this is a very important part of naturally detoxing.  Finally, shoot for around twenty to twenty-five grams of fiber a day.  Eating a high fiber diet can prevent constipation; lower your cholesterol levels and slow digestion- leading to weight loss too!

Take advantage of spring’s energy and use it to kick start a new self-care program.  To ensure that you can sustain your new lifestyle, add one or two new healthy practices each week.  And have a happy spring!

Violet Johnson