No matter how good your intentions, it can be difficult to stay healthy during winter: the season of comfort food, cozy sweaters and Netflix marathons.
But with spring finally here, you’re likely ready to shed your cold-weather cocoon and return to the healthy habits of seasons past. Here are the five things to do to spring clean your health and jumpstart your warmer weather routines, according to experts.
Prioritize good sleep.
“It’s the most important biorhythm, but too often ignored. For the average adult, the aim is eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Your bedroom needs to be as quiet and dark as possible. To get your mind prepared for sleep after an active day, meditate for five minutes before slipping into bed.” — Dr. Deepak Chopra, integrative medicine expert and author of The Healing Self
Find excuses to move — outside of the gym.
“As the weather gets nicer, people can go outside more and move more. I give people the goal of a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and eventually they should get to 12,000 steps a day. As the weather warms, there are more opportunities to go for walks with friends, walk for coffee, play outdoor sports like golf and tennis, hike, garden and do outdoor house repairs.” — Harley Pasternak, Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer
Set a “good alarm.”
“A ‘good alarm’ can be used to remind you to establish and develop healthier habits. For example, I set a good alarm to remind me to start my bedtime routine, so I get an adequate amount of rest. You can also set a good alarm as a nudge to drink more water, stand up (for those who have a sedentary job) or to remind you to eat a healthy meal, if you often work through your lunch hour.” — Grace Derocha, registered dietitian and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Develop better sunscreen habits.
“A recent study has shown that an ultra-high SPF (100+) sunscreen does provide better sun protection, compared to SPF 50. We do not apply as much sunscreen as we should, and we do not reapply. This means that the protection we’re getting is, in fact, less than what is labeled on the bottle, as the SPF value gets diluted out. I tell my patients to choose a sunscreen with the highest SPF possible, as an insurance policy to provide the best protection for the longest period of time.” — New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner
Greet the day.
“Take advantage of the increased sunlight in the mornings to set your circadian pacemaker, also known as your body’s sleep clock. I would recommend choosing a consistent wake-up time in the morning and aiming for a 20-minute walk after waking up. The sunlight will program your body clock and help regularize your sleep and wake rhythm. If you focus on programming your wake-up time, then your bedtime will naturally start drifting into place.” — Dr. Josna Adusumilli, neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital