AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
Spring’s around the corner:
These tips will help refresh your home and your health
There may still be snow on the ground where you are. But spring, the season of promise and renewal, has a way of showing up early. It's more about a state of mind than about the temperature.
So, consider these spring cleaning tips to get life flowing again:
Tip #1 - Clear the clutter
Dig into your closets, the garage or attic, and get rid of junk that’s been piling up. Clean baseboards. Wash windows and let the sunshine in.
Sure, it may sound like plain old labor, but it can also be healthy. Remember, physical activity is not just working out at a gym or running laps around a track. General house cleaning can burn up to 200 calories per hour and moving heavy items and carrying boxes burn over 325 calories per hour, according to the website Matthews Calorie Counter.
“So, pump up the music and start cleaning out the closets. Add in a few dance moves to step up the fun,” said Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, a health counselor and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.
Besides helping with physical activity, clearing away clutter can also remove “visual noise” from your daily life, Kennedy said.
Furthermore, what you consider junk may have financial value, she noted. Donating household items to a charity brings the added benefit of a potential tax deduction.
Tip #2 - Keep an eye on your food supply
Your kitchen may be due for some spring cleaning, too.
“One aspect of spring cleaning is to literally clear the cupboards,” Kennedy said. A kitchen filled with the wrong kinds of food can sabotage your healthy eating intentions. Kennedy advises keeping the refrigerator organized and throwing out leftovers after three days.
Then, as you restock, add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
Tip #3 - Go outside
To manage stress and boost your mood, go outdoors and spruce up your yard or patio. Pulling weeds, lifting rocks, carrying pots and pushing a wheelbarrow all increase your physical activity. Think about all those squats that tend to come with yardwork. That’s exercise.
Creating a pleasant outdoor space can also help you find a “zone of peace” for sitting and reflecting, Kennedy said. Studies have indicated that regular interaction with the natural environment can result in a range of health benefits.
Tip #4 - Looking ahead
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, preferably spread throughout the week. That’s part of the AHA’s “Life’s Simple 7®,” specific behaviors and factors that have the biggest impact on heart health. In addition to getting active, the list includes eating better, losing weight, controlling cholesterol, managing blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, and quitting smoking.
Keep in mind that physical activity can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, dancing, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
Maintaining your exercise momentum may come down to knowing the “motivating why;” and then the “how” to do it becomes easier, said Kennedy.
Article provided by the American Heart Association
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