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Use the season of spring to take control of your health.
This week marks the beginning of spring, a time where many people look forward to the warmer months ahead and take the opportunity to give their lives a little ‘spring clean’. Whether it’s reorganising the kitchen cupboards, decluttering your wardrobe or ticking things off an ever-growing to-do list, spring awakens all of us to new possibilities. As we hopefully say goodbye to the colder weather and move forward into a new season, now is a perfect time to not only spring clean your home but to also make an effort to give your health a little spring clean.
Read below to learn more about how a few small life changes can improve your health and wellbeing.
Spring is a fresh start for nature and a fresh start for you. Just as nature buds and blooms full of colour, so too should your plate. Colour is a useful indicator of the positive health benefits of fresh plant-based foods. Dark green leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll, B vitamins, minerals and fibre. Yellow and orange foods are often rich in vitamin C, while purple fruits such as blueberries, blackberries and acai berries provide anthocyanin flavonoids which have excellent anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. Just as you ditch your heavy winter coats as the weather warms, so too remove heavy, stodgy foods and feed your body with fresh ingredients rich in natural colour.
With the cold winter weather swiftly becoming a thing of the past, use the new season to switch up your exercise routine and move forward more determined than ever. Enjoying your workout is the best way to stay on track and motivated, stop doing the things you don't love! If you hate running, try swimming. Don't love yoga? Maybe a boot camp class or a quick HIIT workout is more your cup of tea. Or take advantage of the warmer weather and get outside and hike - you'll also be taking in some much-needed vitamin D at the same time. Spring is a great time to start fresh and realise exercise doesn’t need to be boring to be effective.
Stress causes a small region at the base of the brain to set off an alarm system in the body, prompting the adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that cause the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Cortisol plays a role in most of the body’s functioning including regulating blood sugar levels, metabolism, salt/water balance, blood pressure and inflammation. In our modern world, for many people stress isn’t just an occasional reaction to a threat but rather a daily occurrence as a result of a hectic lifestyle.
When stressors are always present, the body’s fight-or-flight response becomes chronic. If this occurs, cortisol is constantly suppressing important functions such as the immune system and this can lead to health problems including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, headaches and insomnia. Use the season of spring to make a conscious effort to make stress reduction a priority. There are many effective ways of managing stress, such as meditation, spending time in nature and deep breathing exercises, however, the key is to take the time to practise these things regularly.
Use the new season as that necessary nudge to check your inner health. By having regular health checks you can easily track any changes and act accordingly, safe in the knowledge that you are doing everything in your power to achieve and maintain good health. Our Health and Lifestyle Check is a comprehensive health check for all ages. With investigations into a wide variety of conditions from heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney function, thyroid health and iron status, giving you a valuable insight into your current state of health.
Nothing puts a spring in your step more than a clean bill of health, and if something is amiss? Rest assured that many of the conditions we test for can be reversed through small lifestyle changes if caught early enough.