Published April 24, 2012
Spring cleaning isn’t just about de-cluttering your home and cleaning out your closets--it should also include getting your health in order.
“This time of year you are exposed to allergies; people are getting out more and many of us are on the verge of traveling season,” says WebMD.com’s Lead Medical Editor, Dr. Brunilda Nazario. “The idea of a spring checkup is right on the mark for seasonal reasons.”
While people should be focused on their health year round, spring is a prime time for a checkup. We tend to be more active as the weather warms, and the summer heat can put us at risk for heat struck and bug-borne illnesses.
Here are three items to add to your spring cleaning to-do list to help better your health.
Get a Physical
Before you join the softball team or go for a run in the woods, experts says it pays to see your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to engage in physical activity.
A physical exam is a simple way to identify any problems and make sure you are prepare for the increased activity that usually happens in the spring and summer.
Schedule an appointment for a physical exam with your primary-care physician to have your vitals checked, including blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. Your doctor will also listen to your heart, exam your lungs and check your head, neck and abdominal area.
The exam also provides a chance to discuss any issues or concerns about your health and go over your medications.
Check Medication Interactions
Nazario cites dehydration and heat illnesses as prime risks during the summer months. While these types of ailments can be prevented by staying hydrated and keeping cool, you may not be aware if you are at increased risk because of certain medications. She advises walking through all your medications with a doctor, including frequency and dosage, to see if there are any possible reactions to the sun or increased physical activity.
Since spring and summer months bring summer camp fun and foreign vacations, and experts recommend making sure all vaccinations are up to date or getting special ones if you are traveling outside of the country.
Nazario says to get informed about the risk of lime disease if you live or plan to visit regions with heavy tick populations. If you are traveling internationally, there can be risks of contracting diseases like malaria, so being informed about how to prevent contracting any diseases and staying protected.
Get Heart Healthy
Take this springtime to get your heart healthy. According to Donna Arnett, president-elect of the American Heart Association, a great way to get your heart healthy and get in shape is to engage in physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Simply walking for 30 minutes a day will improve your heart health dramatically, says Arnett.
According to the American Heart Association, studies show that for every hour of walking, you could increase your life expectancy by two hours. The group also found that physical activity not only helps weight management, but it can also boost your mental wellness, lower your blood pressure and enhance your immune system.
Experts also recommend making springtime resolutions like quitting smoking, or getting glucose and cholesterol levels checked as well as make sure their blood pressure is in a healthy range.