If you’re starting to notice a boost in energy and desire to get moving and stay active, you’re not alone. The spring and summertime inspire most of us to get off our warm, cozy couches and embrace the beautiful weather that’s starting to bloom.
According to David Friedman, N.D., clinical nutritionist and chiropractic neurologist, “Between a lack of exercise, unhealthy eating, and excessive alcohol consumption during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the average person gains 10-15 pounds.”
Read more: How to Practice Self-Care and Prioritize “You”
While you may have slacked a tad on your mental and physical health when there was frost covering the ground this winter, the good news is that spring is the perfect time to pick back up where you left off. Here are aspects of your health care that experts say you should make a priority as you transition from winter to spring, and spring to summer.
Massage: the wellness must-have
If you’re the type who reserves a massage for special occasions only, it’s time to rethink its benefits. Research has found that frequent massages may be helpful in treating a myriad of health conditions—not all of which are physical. In fact, studies have found that massage may be therapeutic for treating diagnosed anxiety disorder, digestive tract disorders, stress-induced insomnia, tension headaches, and much more.
Since fitting a massage appointment into your busy schedule might be tricky, why not book an at-home one? With a Zeel massage, or, better yet, a monthly membership, a certified massage therapist will come to your door within an hour for a 60-, 75- or 90-minute-long massage. All you have to do is sit back and relax. Who’s ready for summer now?
Read more: How Does Zeel’s Massage Membership Work
In our day and age, most fruits and vegetables are available year round, but it’s still best to eat foods that are in-season. For spring, reach for artichokes, asparagus, cherries, radishes, and apricots, which are in prime condition from March through May.
As the weather gets warmer, fill your plate with fruits that grow in the warmer months give us needed skin protection. “Watermelon, mangos, papaya, pomegranate, and apricots are chock-full of vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce the dangerous effects of UV radiation,” explains Dr. Friedman. “Watermelon contains lycopene which prevents sunburn and skin cancer while pomegranates contain ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from cell damage.”
In the winter months, we don’t sweat as much, since the weather’s colder and we’re typically less active. As a result, we drink less water. When we’re transitioning to spring and summer, however, it’s important to increase water consumption.
“Staying hydrated protects you from getting heat stroke, which is among the leading causes of death in young adults and teens,” explains Dr. Friedman. “Water consumption also helps your mind stay sharp and increases your energy.” He recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces per day (i.e. 90 ounces if you weigh 180 pounds).
Up your exercise
Spring is the most ideal time to get moving and shed some of that winter weight. Dr. Friedman suggests taking a daily walk, riding a bike or joining a gym, as all are great ways to add exercise to your daily regimen and decrease your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
“You can integrate tech and fitness with a popular fitness monitoring devices like Fitbit or Garmin,” he says. “They will help keep you accountable—or, find a workout buddy to give you some additional motivation and accountability.”
Protect yourself from the sun
Before you reach for last summer’s sunscreen to lather on your face when the spring sun shines bright, know this: The quality of sunscreen diminishes within a year. For this reason, Jame Heskett M.D., author of The Well Path, recommends buying all new sunscreens, especially zinc-based varieties. “Pick out a block for when you are doing outdoor activities that involve sweat (you don’t want to avoid putting on your sunscreen if it runs and stings your eyes), a sunblock for day to day use under your makeup and one for your lips and one for your body,” she says. “And don’t forget to put sunscreen on your feet when you wear sandals!”
Don’t neglect sleep
Sleep is so important for our health, yet ⅓ of Americans report not getting enough shut-eye on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Sleep has an impact on every part of our health and can make a huge difference in your day,” Rebecca Lee, a registered nurse in New York City and founder RemediesForMe.com.
“Inadequate sleep can lead to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, weaker immune systems, stroke, mental health disorders, weight gain, skin aging and hormonal imbalances.” While springtime may add a temptation to stay out longer, since the weather is nicer, try to sneak in your 7-8 hours each night.
Jenn Sinrich is an experienced writer, digital and social editor and content strategist based in Boston, Massachusetts. She has written for SELF, Women’s Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, Reader’s Digest, PureWow, and many other publications. Learn more about Jenn at jennsinrich.com and on LinkedIn.