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03/21/14

Healthy overhaul: Spring isn't just for cleaning house

Spring cleaning carries the stigma of solely being associated with sweeping the floors, washing the windows and airing out your home after a long, cold winter.
But what about wiping clean your mental state and getting physically healthy now that the cold weather has subsided and you're ready to come out of healthy hibernation.
Dr. Natalie Strand is the director of integrative medicine at Freedom Pain Hospital, and has experienced success on the reality TV circuit as the winner of "The Amazing Race." She's parlayed that success into being a sought after guest on "The Doctors" and "The Rachel Ray Show," given her medical expertise in conjunction with her television notoriety.
Dr. Strand is a proponent of cleaning up your health as it pertains to the change from winter to spring, and offers several sound tips to make that happen rather seamlessly.
She recommends eliminating stress from your daily routine or at least learning how to manage it better, along with not ignoring doctor visits, check ups and adding an exercise element that might be missing.

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Even your mouth and oral hygiene is fair game. Dr. Strand maintains that, in addition to brushing regularly, you should switch to products like Colgate Total that not only protect but greatly help the overall health of your mouth.
Starting an exercise program or taking a long, hard look at how you're eating often is associated with January and those frequently broken New Year's Resolutions. But spring can spawn a renewed vigor for wanting to exercise. Various apps can assist you in your endeavor, including the aptly titled SweatGuru. This app is everyone's favorite exercise buddy as it allows you to search for fitness classes and actually remind you to go.
The idea that spring puts your health in perspective on a variety of levels isn't a fad per say but rather simply an exercise in practicality and emotion. The former comes from hiding your weight gain behind sweaters, indulging on holiday treats and Thanksgiving second helpings. Once the weather turns from long to short sleeves and pants, you may not like the looks of your arms or legs, respectively. Spring often is typically the second busiest time of year in the gym, aside from January. That's because everyone throws that last ditch effort to trim down before bathing suit season, or at least to feel comfortable wearing less clothing.
Emotionally, winter is depressing, sad and can leave even the most upbeat of individuals forgetting the importance of taking care of yourself.
Maybe you've overlooked your oral hygiene hit the proverbial wall or you're still reeling from the stress of holiday shopping or shedding the subsequent debt. It's easy to get distracted and center your attention more on others than yourself. Dr. Strand says that it's important to use spring as a time to relax, which shouldn't be confused with being the same as resting. She urges that stress techniques isn't nearly the same as sleeping, for example.
How you begin to take care of yourself in the spring sets the stage nicely for a superb summer and equally positive fall, not to mention withstanding yet another wonderfully busy winter. More important, you're setting precedent for years to come so that each "spring cleaning" centering on you gets a little easier each time.

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