The changing seasons can bring about health hassles such as stomachaches, low energy, and allergies. But, you don’t have to suffer through them all season long. Erase seasonal ‘ughs’ with these six simple tips that will help you stay happy and healthy this spring!
Daily strolls ward off colds.
Your immune system has been on high alert all winter, shielding you from the flu, COVID-19 and other viral ills — and that can leave it in a weakened state in the spring. The good news: You can cut your risk of catching a spring cold by 65 percent in one week just by spending 20 minutes each day strolling around your neighborhood. That’s the word from Yale University researchers, who say gentle outdoor exercise reenergizes sluggish immune cells, prompting them to release 33 percent more virus-fighting antibodies.
A simple stretch brightens mood.
The winter blues can linger long into spring, and that can leave you feeling groggy and blah on even the sunniest days. Thankfully, easy stretches can help restore your happy energy. European studies suggest that reaching for the sky, touching your toes or doing other simple stretches for five minutes twice daily can kick-start the production of endorphins, feel-good hormones that slash your risk of blue moods by 43 percent. Bonus: You’ll also get relief from aches with the strategy since endorphins are also proven to cut pain in half.
Tending to plants sends energy soaring.
It’s not just you — 80 percent of us can’t shake off tiredness these days. The reason? Our brain’s production of energizing beta waves is stuck at winter’s suboptimal levels. Fortunately, Norwegian researchers say spending a bit of time caring for houseplants can improve your focus and stamina by 65 percent for three hours. That’s because connecting with nature prompts the release of beta waves — and indoor gardening produces the same energy boost as tending to an outdoor garden.
Ginger this way prevents allergies.
Spring breezes can carry pollen into your home, but taking 500 mg. of ginger extract daily prevents congestion, sneezing and other allergy symptoms as effectively as loratadine (Claritin) — without side effects like drowsiness. So say scientists in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. They credit 6-gingerol, a compound in ginger that calms immune cells that overreact to pollen.
Warm socks deepen sleep.
Until your brain adjusts to spring’s longer days, the extra light exposure can double your risk of restless sleep. To feel more weary than wired at bedtime, don the fuzzy socks you wore on chilly winter nights. University of Iowa scientists say raising the temperature of your feet prompts the release of relaxing theta brain waves and the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so you drift off easily and halve your risk of nighttime awakenings.
Citrus massages calm stomachaches.
The springtime shift from hearty winter stews to fresh produce doubles the risk of indigestion — as does on-the-go eating on fun-filled weekends. To soothe stomach discomfort in 10 minutes, mix five drops of orange essential oil into one teaspoon of a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and gently massage on your belly. British scientists say orange oil’s limonene calms the brain’s nausea center, and the massage soothes the enteric nervous system — the branch of nerves that controls digestive enzyme release and muscle contractions in the intestines.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.