Spring Renewal: Sprouting Healthy Habits

By Martha Michael

Chiropractic is a Healthy Habit

You don’t have to be in the flower of your youth to weed out the unhealthy effects of a winters-long lapse of good habits. Springtime means more than just budding flowers. It also leads to blossoming ideas for maximizing your wellness, so it’s a good time to create a bouquet of new practices you can carry through to next year.

The Great Outdoors

The spring thaw means you can head outside for exercise. Of course, the weather is better and the days are longer, which makes it more convenient. But it also tends to make you kick your fitness up a notch, says an article in Time magazine.

Researchers at University of California, San Diego found that older Americans tend to work out at least a half-hour longer outdoors than they do indoors, and their fitness is significantly more strenuous as well. Participants in a study of individuals age 66 and older who did outdoor workouts reported feeling healthier after exercise than subjects doing indoor fitness.

The article cites another study in which Australian researchers analyzed the relationship between time spent in nature and various health outcomes.

“A longer duration of individual nature experiences was significantly linked to a lower prevalence of depression and of high blood pressure, and increased physical activity,” says the report on Nature.com. “A higher frequency of green space visitation was an important predictor for increased social cohesion, and both duration and frequency showed a significant positive relationship with higher levels of physical activity.”

“Green exercises,” such as horseback riding, jogging and walking pets, saves the other kind of green as well, says a study in the U.K. cited in the Time article. Fitness in natural settings offers more than health benefits -- its value can be quantified to approximately £2.18 billion for England (more than $3 billion American). On the individual level, it’s cheaper than a gym membership, at least.

Fields of Dreams

After spring training, there’s opening day for baseball fans, and if you’re a gardener, now’s the best time to plant your vegetables. Or if you’re really organized, you may be a person who waits all year to feel the benefits of spring cleaning.

Whatever your passion, the season has long been associated with new starts. According to an article posted on the CheatSheet, April is when the largest number of new jobs are posted. And when it comes to moods, there’s the most optimism in spring, as well.

“There’s just something about spring -- it’s the period of rebirth,” says Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing for Beyond.com. “People are feeling more positive, so that’s going to lift your spirits.”

You could possibly call it the healthiest time of year. You can get on your bike, walk on the beach, fly a kite, take the kids to the playground or outside with sidewalk chalk. But recreation is just the beginning.

Set yourself up for an entire year of healthier living. Now that battles with the winter cold are behind you, there’s time and space to make fresh choices, including your health and well-being. Chiropractic care is a good idea any time of year. You don’t have to suffer from challenging conditions such as back pain, migraines or sciatica to benefit from routine visits to your practitioner. Chiropractic adjustments correct joint dysfunctions, but also reduce the pain or soreness associated with age, or undue stress you would place on your immune system.

Shifting into gear now, in the spring, is a way to increase your odds all year long.

An article in U.S. News & World Report says that more than 30 million American adults see a chiropractor each year, citing a Gallup Panel survey. And of the more than 60 million who sought chiropractic care in a five-year period, 77 percent reported it was “very effective.”

In addition to the benefits of non-invasive, drug-free treatment, manual therapies are touted as key to reducing headaches caused by nerve irritation and treating pain caused by a wide range of conditions.

Making changes in life is rarely a walk in the park, but it’s a breath of fresh air. And whether your favorite scent is lilac blossoms or fresh cut roses, this year spring can be the season you set up something more lasting -- the sweet smell of success.

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