Shed winter blues and pounds: Providence offers spring health tips

April 02, 2012
Shed those winter pounds
The rain remains, but spring is here. And when the sun does return, we'll notice the days are longer, helping to soothe those who find their moods affected by the long winter darkness. Soon temperatures will be more inviting for outdoor activities, which will help reboot New Year's commitments to losing weight. Experts say even a 10-minute brisk walk is great for your health. Start slowly and create a routine that works for your fitness level and schedule. Imagine the rewards you'll feel when summer rolls around!

Lawn care? Beware of dangers there
Gardening is a great way to get physical activity; it can burn as many as 250 to 350 calories an hour! But without the proper safety steps, it can also result in injuries. Each year, according to, more than 80,000 gardeners nationwide go to emergency rooms because of injuries relating to lawn mowers. Providence doctors offer the following safety tips: dress appropriately for the task; make sure that safety devices on the equipment are in place and functioning properly before starting work; and never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised.

Be prepared for allergy season
Seasonal allergies can spoil spring days. Stay ahead of the symptoms by making sure you have the appropriate medication on-hand. Good news this year is that more allergy medications have been approved for over-the-counter usage. Be sure to check with your doctor about which medications are best for your symptoms.

Consider becoming an early bird
Studies have shown that people who wake up earlier are healthier than night owls who sleep the morning away. Taking advantage of the morning light also gives you a good dose of needed vitamin D, helpful to shake the winter blues.

Change your pillows during spring cleaning
Do you know that after five years up to 10 percent of a pillow's weight is allergy- or asthma-provoking bacteria, pollen, mold and dust mites? Take precautions by using protective covers that seal out allergens and wash pillowcases weekly in hot water. Experts recommend replacing pillows every three to five years.