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Senior Wellness: The Best Tips for Health this Spring
As published in Showcase Magazine in March of 2019.
Most people, especially seniors, tend to slow down during the winter, so spring—when nature is waking up again—is the perfect time to get moving. Whether you’re living independently, living in a senior community, living with a family member or caring for one, these spring health tips are sure to rejuvenate and inspire.
“Spring up” your diet by eating foods fertile in the spring season as a healthy way to shed those winter pounds naturally. Foods that are in season during the spring include leafy greens, strawberries, baby asparagus, and seasonal fish and shellfish.
To keep your body running at peak performance, it needs regular maintenance: a spring tune-up, so to speak. Dr. Lu Gao, board-certified internist at Pacific Medical Centers, offers the following tips:
- Keep warm as the season transitions from winter to spring. Even as temperatures start to rise, it’s important not to switch to spring/summer garments until outdoor temperatures stabilize.
- If you’re no fan of ice and snow, your whole world may expand once the spring sun settles in and thaws out the land. Stay active with daily outdoor exercises, ranging from 30 to 45 minutes. Moderate physical exercises are best to keep your heart rate at a safe range of 40–50 percent. These activities may include brisk walking or gardening, easily fitting into your daily routine.
- Be careful of obstacles to prevent falls both inside the house and outdoors. To be extra-cautious, use aids like walking sticks or canes whenever appropriate and possible. It is also important to ensure that footwear is securely on and supportive of your feet.
- Springtime can mean the beginning of allergies. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, take or continue your allergy medications, and be aware of pollen exposure during springtime. Pollen counts are the highest between 5 and 10 a.m., so try to reduce excessive exposure during that time frame by staying inside, wearing a mask or taking antihistamines.
- Stay hydrated. As we age, our ability to notice thirst may decrease, so it’s important to keep an eye on water intake, especially when you’ve been outdoors in the sun.
- Stay up to date on immunizations and other health screenings.
When your body is tired and your joints are sore, finding the motivation to be active is easier said than done. Even the smallest steps, however, can have a big impact on your overall well-being. Start with just one or two of these health tips and work your way up from there.