The mindset of addition versus subtraction when it comes to health improvement is a huge piece of the health, wellness, and longevity puzzle. Try shifting your focus to what you can add to your days and into your life to enhance your health versus a mindset of what you need to take away. You may find that you enjoy the journey more and that those positive changes can last quite a long time. And what better time to focus on changes to add to your life than the spring? The happy, bright, fresh season that comes after a few slower and colder depending on where you live months!
When you add new habits to your life the key is to make sure they are things that you actually enjoy so that they become repeatable. Repeatable actions create consistency in habits and consistency creates change. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I always tell and remind my clients that the best changes they can make are the ones that add happiness to their life. And that's because when you connect the choices you're making to a brighter mood and improvement in how you feel, you will repeat and reap the benefits forever.
So with that said, what are some habits you can add this spring to help shift your mindset and improve your health? I am glad you asked! I have five for you:
Rising temps often mean more sweat. So it's true that your hydration needs to increase during these warmer months. Consistently drinking adequate fluid is so important for your health and wellness. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by hitting any particular hydration goals, my best advice is to add one extra 8 oz. glass of water or a hydrating beverage per day to what you are drinking now. Aim to get up to at least half your body weight in ounces per day.
OLIPOP is a functional beverage that hydrates and provides other benefits too. So want extra credit? Drink one can outside daily or while you are cooking an at-home meal
2. Cook More at Home
Spring produce is some of the best. Adding in seasonal flavors is great for your budget and also your belly! Consider making it a goal to add seasonal produce and cook at home a few nights per week this spring or one more night than you currently do. Try a new recipe or make it fun by picking a seasonal item to feature and plan a meal around it. Or just try adding multiple colors to your meal!
Seasonal produce for spring includes foods like:
There are endless options for creativity and boosting nutrient density at meal times in the spring.
3. Get Outside (And Move!)
It sounds simple but the sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your health. Sunshine assists your body in the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential nutrient and over 42% of the population is not getting enough of it. Studies also show that spending time outdoors can positively impact your mental and physical health in a variety of ways. By adding in roughly 120 minutes of outdoor time per week, you may see improvements in breathing, sleep, mood, mental clarity, immune function, and even emotional health.
You can spend the time outside simply working on stress management techniques OR consider making it your movement time too. The American Heart Association and CDC recommend 150 minutes per week of movement to see positive health impacts. Try combining your movement with your outdoor time this spring for the ultimate health improvement combo.
4. Focus On Sleep Consistency and Hygiene
By spending time outdoors AND moving you will likely see improvements in your sleep. This is called habit stacking, and it's an amazing way to double up your healthy habits so they all work together. But with longer, sunnier days sometimes bedtime gets pushed later and later. The key is working on the consistency of your bedtime which will help with consistency for your circadian rhythm.
Improvement in sleep quality helps with overall health and mood. It can also help you make better choices for your health each day. This spring consider implementing a bedtime routine and prioritizing your sleep, aiming for 7 to 8 hours per night.
5. Add Some Fiber
Improvements in gut health are connected to an improved quality of life and better health and wellness. So this spring, make it a goal to increase your fiber intake and improve your gut health in the process. Studies show that only 5% of people in the U.S. currently get the recommended amount of fiber they need per day. Women need on average around 25g of fiber per day and men 38g per day.
Luckily, getting more fiber each day in the springtime is easy! Seasonal produce like strawberries and greens contain loads of fiber. Or try adding chia or flax seeds to your oatmeal in the morning or enjoying a delicious can of OLIPOP in the sunshine. OLIPOP has 9g of fiber per can, which can help you fill your fiber gap.
Healthy Habits for Spring: The Takeaway
Adding in these habits will have a positive impact on your health. But not only that, they're fun and delicious. My best advice when adding in new habits? Stack them but start slow. Focus on one at a time. Then, when one feels consistent and comfy, add another. And when you don't have to think about it as much then it is time to add another one in! Which habit will you add first this spring?
Crum, A. J., & Zuckerman, B. (2017). Changing Mindsets to Enhance Treatment Effectiveness. JAMA, 317(20), 2063. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.4545
White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., Bone, A., Depledge, M. H., & Fleming, L. E. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3
Barkley, C. (2021, October 29). The power of vitamin D: What experts already know (and are still learning) about the ‘sunshine vitamin.' The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. https://www.uth.edu/news/story.htm?id=0520d178-ab7a-49af-858e-a7adeec0b30e
Swaim, E. (2022, May 28). 8 Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature and Spending Time Outside. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-being-outdoors
Move More; Sit Less. (2023, March 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
Schneider, K. (2022, February 7). When Is the Best Time To Go to Sleep? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-time-should-i-go-to-bed/
What's In Season? Spring. (2019, April 8). Have a Plant. https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/whats-in-season-spring/
Dix, M., & Klein, E. (2022, June 1). Understanding Gut Health: Signs of an Unhealthy Gut and What to Do About It. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health
Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2017). Closing America's Fiber Intake Gap. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11(1), 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615588079
- Make sure new habits are things you actually enjoy so that they become repeatable. Repeatable actions create consistency in habits and consistency creates change.
- Some habits to add this spring to help shift your mindset and improve your health include staying hydrated in the hotter months, getting outside for exercise and enjoyment, focusing on sleep consistency and quality, and adding more fiber to your diet.
- The best advice when adding in new habits is to stack them but start slow. Focus on one at a time. Then, when one feels consistent and comfy, add another.
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