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It’s finally time to say goodbye to winter and welcome a new spring. “Cleaning up and getting fit can help you capture a sense of springtime renewal,” says David Kuentz, DO, an internal medicine-pediatrics doctor at MetroHealth. Checking in with your primary care doctor can also keep your health on track.
Clean Up Safely
While spring cleaning may be on your to-do list, be sure to keep your health and safety in mind.
Avoid Dust: People often open windows and doors to air out the house in springtime, stirring up dust. Dusting is also a common spring cleaning ritual. Instead of sending allergy-aggravating particles into the air with a feather duster, use a damp rag or a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, advises Dr. Kuentz.
Outwit Pollen: If you have seasonal allergies, opening doors and windows may make the problem worse. With trees blooming and grasses growing, pollen counts are high in the spring. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine before your eyes and nose start itching is the most effective way to keep your allergies under control, says Dr. Kuentz. For tips on how to help your kids contend with allergies, read Allergy Relief for Your Little Ones.
Lift with Caution: If you’re tackling a big project like cleaning out the garage or tidying up the attic, be mindful when lifting heavy boxes, old exercise equipment and other large items. Kuentz offers the following safety tips:
- Warm up by stretching your back, leg and arm muscles.
- Don’t bend at the waist when lifting; instead, bend at the knees.
- Go slow and use smooth, not jerky, movements while you lift.
- Don’t lift items above the shoulders.
- If the item has handles, use them.
- Ask a friend for help or use a dolly if the item is too heavy for you to safely lift.
Spring into Action with Exercise
“I always encourage increasing physical activity, and spring is the perfect time to get outdoors and get some exercise,” says Dr. Kuentz. “The Cleveland area is great for biking, rowing and hiking.”
He suggests checking out the hiking trails in Cleveland Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park or walking the Towpath Trail. Kayaking on the Cuyahoga River is another option to help you get moving. “Several local companies rent kayaks or canoes,” he says.
Bike Cleveland is also worth investigating, he says. The organization offers several organized biking events in spring. “A lot of times, they’ll close down local streets, so people can explore different areas of the city,” he says.
If walking is more your speed, visit the Holden Arboretum, where gardens will be in bloom. The organization also offers guided bird walks, hikes and outdoor tai chi and yoga.
Or you can even plant your own garden. Not only is it a great way to stay active outdoors, but a fun way to incorporate your very own veggies into healthy meals. Don’t be intimidated – check out our tips for starting out simple in Your Go-To Garden.
Schedule an Exam
Spring is the perfect opportunity to stop putting off doctor appointments. “Now that you’re no longer cooped up in your house, schedule your annual physical exam with your primary care provider,” says Dr. Kuentz.
If you have children, add your annual school or sports physical to the calendar. “Many parents wait until summer when doctors’ schedules become increasingly busy,” he says.