May is the perfect month to prioritize your health and well-being. With the arrival of warmer weather, it is a great time to take advantage of the sunshine and make positive changes to your lifestyle. Keep reading to learn more about 7 ways to up your health game this May, by Registered Dietitian, Chelsea Rice.
1. Set realistic health goals.
When the weather starts to get warmer and your mood boosts, it can be easy to get ambitious and want to make a lot of health goals for the summer. But too many lifestyle changes at once can be overwhelming and may not be realistic to keep up with long term. Instead, start with small, achievable goals and build them over time. Celebrate your successes along the way and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, making positive changes to your health is a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy the journey!
2. Take advantage of seasonal produce.
Did you know that eating foods that are in season can provide you with additional nutrients and have a more positive impact on the environment? Due to growing conditions and weather, seasonal produce varies slightly state to state, but here are some common fruits and vegetables fresh for spring: apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, kale, kiwi, lemons, limes, pineapple, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, and so much more! Spring is from March 20 to June 20, so you have plenty of time to add these foods into your daily meals!
3. Focus on hydration.
With warmer weather comes the reminder of the importance of hydration for your health. If you find it challenging to drink plain water, try adding in some fresh fruit and/or herbs to give your water a boost of flavor. Water and electrolytes are both lost through your sweat, so depending on your sweat rate and nutritional needs, you may also benefit from adding in additional sources of electrolytes. To determine your individualized water and electrolyte needs, talk to your registered dietitian or doctor.
4. Increase your outdoor movement.
May weather is perfect for outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, walking, and running. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and spend some time outside. You don’t need a gym or commit to a strenuous workout routine to stay active. Walking, jogging, or playing with your dog outside can all help to make you feel better both physically and mentally. Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine!
5. Prioritize a good night’s rest.
Lack of sleep, as well as poor sleep, is considered a risk factor for many health conditions. To promote optimal health this spring and summer, aim to get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night. So here is your reminder to turn off the tv, put away the phone, and prioritize that nighttime routine!
6. Take care of your mental health.
Being cooped up inside over the cold winter months may have a negative impact on your mental health. Taking care of your mental health is so important year-round, but now that spring has sprung it may feel a little more manageable to prioritize this area of health. Social connection, movement, meditation, massage, and reading are all examples of ways to improve your overall mood and mental well-being. If you feel as though you need additional support, speak with your healthcare professional for more information and resources.
7. Schedule your yearly health screenings.
Busy lives can make it challenging to stay on top of your yearly health exams and screenings. Although these can be scheduled any time of year, May is a great month to get appointments on the calendar if you don’t already have them scheduled. Whether that be your annual physical, bloodwork, or dentist appointment, keeping up with your routine checkups can help prevent illness and detect any health issues early on.
By incorporating these tips into your spring routine, you can improve your health and set yourself up for success throughout the rest of the year. With a little effort and determination, you can improve your health and enjoy a healthier, happier life. So go ahead and set those realistic health goals, purchase seasonal produce, get outside, prioritize sleep, take care of your mental health, and schedule those yearly health exams. You’ve got this!