Spring Clean Your Body
By Kennika Freeman
Before the joys and obligations of summer hit, why not take a look at your own health as part of your "spring checkup?" You are probably doing it for your house, car and garden, so why not do it for you? Bodies need maintenance just like any other fine running machine. Get yours tuned up today! Here are some ways to do it.
Review your immunizations. Are they up to date? Especially look at the last time you had a tetanus shot. If the answer is you "don't remember," then the action is get one.
Clean out your medicine cabinet. Take out all of your prescribed medications, place them in a bag and bring them with you to your spring health checkup. This is a great way for you and your healthcare provider to review the medications you are on to determine if you still need them or if there are there new alternatives available. It is also a great way to review any out-of-date medications that have been "hiding" in the back of your medicine cabinet and need to be renewed with a fresh supply or simply tossed. Do the same with your over-the-counter medications.
Examine your health maintenance testing needs such as mammogram, colonoscopy and bone density scan. People seem to take much better care of their cars than themselves. Invest in your health!
Watch your body; especially your ankles. As the weather gets warmer, many of us want to get out and do more. Being more active is great, but it also means increasing the potential for injuries. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reports that ankle sprains are among the most common sports injuries. If you do get injured, it's best to seek medical attention and remember the acronym RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation can reduce swelling and pain.
Walk and hike more. There is more daylight, so all you non-morning people out there have no excuse at the end of the day.
Go biking. It builds muscle, particularly in your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. You can control the level of your workout by riding slow or fast on city streets, suburban roads or scenic trails. It's a convenient, inexpensive way to get around town and a great way to enjoy the outdoors and do some sightseeing.
Become an early bird. Studies have shown that people who wake up earlier are healthier than night owls who completely miss the morning light. Especially after our long winter with no light, it will do you good to take advantage of the early morning light and the vitamin D it gives. Vitamin D has been found (when paired with a healthy diet) to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer by two-thirds.