9 Easy Tips to Kickstart Your Spring Wellness Routine

Prioritize mental health, eat healthy, embrace exercise

A young woman rejoices in a field of yellow flowers. SD Health Magazine

Prioritize mental health, eat healthy, embrace exercise

Spring is the perfect time to turn the focus back to you and take steps to improve your health. The natural world is in renewal mode. You can be too. 

Whether you’re currently in tip-top shape or have chronic conditions in need of management, there are numerous ways to steer yourself toward better health, says Stephen Shapero, MD, a family medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Carlsbad

“Many of my patients — from adolescents to senior citizens — claim they plan to do something to improve their health ‘down the road,’” Dr. Shapero says. “I understand it’s human nature, but we all need to start today.” 

Spring clean your health and wellness routine with these tips from Dr. Shapero. 

1. Schedule “Me” time for better mental health 

To improve physical health, take time to nurture mental health. Make it a priority to replenish yourself and relax. Find ways to manage stress and connect with friends and loved ones. 

2. Clean up your diet 

Add more seasonal fruits and vegetables — aim to get at least five servings daily — to your diet. Also, add in healthy fats (limit refined oils or fried foods), whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. 

3. Stay hydrated 

Hydration is always important — our bodies are roughly 60% water — but becomes even more so as the weather heats up and as we ramp up our exercise levels. 

4. Move your body, preferably outdoors  

The standard minimum recommended time of moderate-intensity physical activity is 150 minutes per week. You don’t need to become a marathon runner; walking or gardening will suffice, as long as your muscles are activated and you do it consistently. Exercising in the sunshine adds a mood-enhancing benefit. 

5. Protect your skin and eyes from UV rays 

Californians need to be even more vigilant with sunscreen. Wear sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and garments with long sleeves and pants while outside to help prevent skin cancer. Though studies have shown daily sunscreen use has little effect on vitamin D production, seniors may benefit from vitamin D supplements. Even with adequate sunshine, older skin does not produce enough. 

6. Stop smoking and vaping 

E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking. Both contain cancer-causing chemicals. Your physician can help you develop a cessation plan. 

7. Get adequate sleep 

You’re too busy to “waste” time on sleep? Think again. Adults generally require at least seven hours nightly. Inadequate sleep can hinder your immune system and sense of well-being. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity. 

8. Address springtime allergies 

Outdoor and indoor allergens can both be disruptive. Changing home air filters can help, as well as avoiding outdoor activities on high pollen days and taking over-the-counter allergy medication. 

9. Schedule annual checkups 

Yearly physicals include screenings for cancer and heart disease, recommended immunizations and discussions with your doctor about family medical history. Don’t put off this important check-in. 

San Diego Health Magazine cover, spring 2024

This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.

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