San Diego Health - Spring 2024


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PRING IS THE PERFECT TIME to turn the focus back to you and take steps to improve your health. Th e natural world is in renewal mode; you can be, too.

Whether you’re currently in tip-top shape or have chronic conditions in need of management, there are numerous ways to steer yourself toward better health, says Stephen Shapero, MD, family medicine physician, Scripps Coastal Medical Center, Carlsbad. “Many of my patients—from adolescents to senior citizens—claim they plan to do something to improve their health ‘down the road,’” Dr. Shapero says. “I understand it’s human nature, but we all need to start today.” Spring clean your health and wellness routine with these tips from Dr. Shapero.

Schedule “Me” Time For Better Mental Health To improve physical health, take time to nurture mental health. Make it a priority to replenish yourself and relax. Find ways to manage stress and connect with friends and loved ones. Clean Up Your Diet Add more seasonal fruits and vegetables—aim to get at least fi ve servings daily—to your diet. Also, add in healthy fats (limit re fi ned oils or fried foods), whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Stay Hydrated Hydration is always important—our bodies are roughly 60% water—but becomes even more so as the weather heats up and as we ramp up our exercise levels.

Move Your Body, Preferably Outdoors Th e standard minimum recommended time of moderate-intensity physical activity is 150 minutes per week. You don’t need to become a marathon runner; walking or gardening will su ffi ce, as long as your muscles are activated. Exercising in the sunshine adds a mood-enhancing bene fi t. Protect Your Skin And Eyes From UV Rays Californians need to be even more vigilant with sunscreen. Wear sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and garments with long sleeves and pants while outside. Th ough studies have shown daily sunscreen use has little e ff ect on vitamin D production, seniors may bene fi t from vitamin D supplements. Even with adequate sunshine, older skin does not produce enough. Stop Smoking And Vaping E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking. Both contain cancer-causing chemicals. Your physician can help you develop a cessation plan.

Get Adequate Sleep You’re too busy to “waste” time on sleep? Th ink again. Adults generally require at least seven hours nightly. Inadequate sleep can hinder your immune system and sense of well-being. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Address Springtime Allergies Outdoor and indoor allergens can both be disruptive. Changing home air fi lters can help, as well as avoiding outdoor activities on high pollen days and taking over-the-counter allergy medication. Schedule Annual Checkups Yearly physicals include screenings for cancer and heart disease, recommended immunizations and discussions with your doctor about family medical history. Don’t put o ff this important check-in.


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