Horseman’s Health: Spring – A Time for Renewal

Spring is here and for many that means a return to green and budding new life all around. Even if you live in a place where Spring snows exist, you can see signs of new life with flowers and trees budding. We can take a lesson from nature and use this time for some renewal of our own bodies, spirits, and minds. Especially during this time of social distancing and sheltering at home, ridding ourselves of chaotic and toxic energies that stem from all the unknowns and fears can help with our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Here are some tips to get you started thinking of what you can do for your own renewal.

Decrease sugar – Refined sugars can contribute to a variety of health issues besides leading to weight gain. Refined sugar can contribute to increasing free radicals that can damage our very cells. While you are having to spend more time at home, take a look at the foods in your fridge, cabinets and pantry. Dr. Oz advises reading the labels and getting rid of anything that lists sugar in the first three ingredients. Be aware that labels may not say “sugar” but use a word that ends in “-ose” or have sugar alcohols with words ending in “-ol”. If the “-ose” word is lactose or fructose, those are the natural sugars found in milk and fruits/vegetables so those can be OK. Cleaning out your pantry can be the first step in cleaning up your body.

Increase Antioxidants – Give your diet a boost of antioxidants as these can help your body ward off the damage free radicals do to your cells. They also can help nourish our natural adult stem cells which can then become other types of body cells and be used to repair damaged cells throughout the body. Antioxidants have also been reported to help in lowering blood pressure, give you more stabilized cholesterol levels, improve your blood circulation, help in losing weight and relieving stress, lower inflammation and the risk of various chronic diseases and protect your vision. That’s a lot of benefit just by adding certain types of foods into your diet. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, berries, and this bluegreen algae supplement that not only has all the nutritional benefits of algae, but also contains antioxidants including wild blueberry, green tea, and carnosine, are all good sources of antioxidants. Green tea in particular has catechins, a type of antioxidant found in many teas and cocoa and that has recently been found to have antimicrobial properties and be able to prevent infections. Harmony Boeh, R.D., certified personal trainer at Roseville Health and Wellness Center, advises that more antioxidants are available in using tea bags or steeping loose tea leaves than you would get from bottled, instant or from decaffeinated teas. She also advises drinking three cups a day to support heart health.

Meditate – Meditation is a great way to renew your spirit and has the added physical benefits of helping to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce LDL cholesterol levels. If you haven’t been successful with meditation before, maybe it’s time to try a different type as not all types of meditation are for all people. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position on the floor to meditate and there are actually moving meditations for those of us who have trouble sitting still. Try out a variety of types of meditation to find one that works for you as the time you spend looking inward and being in silence can bring you great rewards. If you aren’t familiar with all the various ways of meditation, let Google help you out.

Stay Positive – Keeping positive thoughts and actions can go a long way to renewing your mind and spirit. Experts such as Dr. Andrew Weil tell us that negative and depressive thoughts taking over our minds can really interfere with our happiness level. Dr. Martin Seligmen, founder of positive psychology, gives us exercises that can help clear our minds of mental toxins. One is writing down three positive things every day about something good in your life and why it is something that works well for you. Another is to take five minutes once a week to write down all your negative thoughts and then tear the paper up. Another good strategy to increase positivity in your life is to look for random acts of kindness you can do for others or get involved as a volunteer with an organization that provides services to others. Once you get started on this path, you’ll be able to start coming up with more and more ways to bring positivity into your life. And last of all, start being aware of when negative thoughts creep into your mind, stop and think of a positive thought you can replace that negative one with.

Keep Moving – Physical movement is not only good for your physical health, but also for your mind and spirit to renew, refresh, and get refocused. Do some stretching, yoga, go for a walk, dance, play a sport, get up from your desk and walk around your office while on the phone or reading a report. Did you know that taking a brisk walk for just half an hour a day lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack as much as 30%? Studies also show that walking confidently with long strides and swinging arms for three minutes can boost your happiness level. Getting physical exercise into your day also helps with lowering stress hormones and increasing feel good hormones.

These are definitely trying times we are living in. While having to spend more time at home, this is the perfect time to work on renewing your body, mind, and spirit this Spring.