Stuck at home because of the recent stay-at-home orders issued in communities across the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Look at the bright side. This is a great time to take stock of your health and do a “spring detox” for your body and home, reducing the impact of the long winter months and the stress we’re all under right now.
Here are some tips that can help you take charge of your health today, and rid your body of toxins.
Body and Mind
1. See the sun? Get some. With spring officially here, the days are longer and the grass is greener. Even though we have to practice social distancing during the stay-at-home order, just stepping outside to soak up a few rays of sunshine for as little as 10 minutes can stimulate the brain chemical serotonin. This chemical has been clinically proven to make you feel happier.
Sunlight also stimulates the body’s production of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days, shade, and very few foods naturally have vitamin D. Most people need more vitamin D after being indoors all winter. However, it’s also important when out in the sun for more than a few minutes to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more.
2. Move it! During the stay-at-home order it’s tempting to park yourself in front of the television, but it’s not healthy. Listening to hours of news reports can increase your stress level, plus sitting for prolonged periods isn’t good for your health.
If it’s not possible to get outside because of cold or rainy weather, there are lots of exercises you can do inside. Check out these great at-home workouts from our friend, the Betty Rocker. She has workouts focusing on abs, the core and the full body, all using exercise equipment most of us have at home.
If the weather cooperates, head outside and take advantage of the warmer weather to move as much as possible. Remember to stay a safe distance from others (a minimum of 6 feet). You don’t need the gym or a park for exercise. Walk around your yard, neighborhood, or find a wooded walking trail nearby. A light jog or run can also be beneficial. A brief stroll outside on a sunny day can improve your mental and physical health. Research has shown doing so routinely is good for your heart and your mind. Just be careful not to take on more than your body can handle before consulting with your health care provider.
3. Eat right, right now. Healthy eating is definitely a concern for many Americans, especially with limited access to grocery stores and produce. It’s always a good idea to watch what you eat and avoid the temptation to fill up on foods high in sugar, like sweetened sodas and baked goods. Your body will respond with a rush of insulin, causing a blood sugar crash, along with weakening your immune system.
Instead, opt for clean whole foods. This is important for a physical spring cleanse. Eating clean is more than avoiding junk foods; it is about eating whole, natural foods while being conscious of the food’s origin to your plate. Fresh whole food such as, fruits and vegetables, are a great way to jump-start your spring cleanse. Dr. Mark Hyman shares some tips for healthy home cooking here.
4. More water, please. One of the healthiest and most effective ways to detox is to drink more water. There’s just no substitute for it. Water is what your body needs for better health. To replenish the water we lose each day, drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 160-pound man should drink 80 ounces of water. Add some lemon, cucumbers or orange wedges to it for extra flavor. You’ll be surprised how refreshing it tastes, and how much better you feel! Our blog on the importance of hydration has other tips on staying hydrated.
And avoid diet sodas. Artificially sweetened sodas are corrosive to your health; a habit of one or more diet sodas daily has been linked to a 50 percent higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular death over the course of a decade among the 2,500 people in the NOMAS (North Manhattan) Study.
Instead, opt for fluids that can help you detox, and improve your health, such as bone broth. Bone broth is the liquid from cooking chicken, beef, or other animal bones and connective tissue for many hours over low heat. Its main benefits lie in the amino acids, collagen, and vitamins and minerals that are released and concentrated during the broth-making process. JJ Virgin shares more about the benefits of bone broth here, as well as a recipe.
Your grandma may have called opening the windows to let fresh air in, and stale winter air out, spring cleaning, but this is just another way of detoxifying your home. And, with many people now at home more, there may be more spring cleaning going on. In addition to opening the windows, here are some other suggestions to help you “detox” your home and make it healthier for you and your family.
1. Use the basics. With infection prevention a concern, you may have limited choices in cleaning products to use. Some, such as bleach, may be necessary to kill the bacteria and viruses we’re concerned about. When possible, switch to green cleaners, or use your great-grandmother’s standbys of water, vinegar, and baking soda for many of your household cleaning jobs. Did you know hydrogen peroxide is a great natural disinfectant?
2. Make a clean sweep. Your floors are usually some of the dirtiest surfaces in your home, no matter what time of year. With kids and pets, muddy shoes and boots, keeping them clean can be a constant battle. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA-filter at least once a week to keep dust levels down, and mop using natural ingredients, including vinegar or baking soda. For other tips on how to detox your home, read our blog.
3. Use a water filter. Water filtration systems provide great tasting water at significantly less cost than bottled water, plus they are reported to help improve health. Ann Shippy shares her tips on how to choose the right system in this blog.
Complete Your Spring Detox with a Sauna
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control estimate that over 80% of all illnesses have causes rooted in personal environments or lifestyles. In an industrialized society, reducing exposure to toxins in the air we breathe and the food we eat, as suggested here, can be a challenge. But there’s an added level of detoxification that can help you achieve greater health and wellness this spring—sauna detoxification.
The leading sauna detoxification principle suggests that common illnesses are caused by the build-up of toxic substances in the body. Ridding the body of these toxins, through a natural sauna detox, may help relieve symptoms, prevent future illness, and increase overall health and vitality.
Just like light from the sun, infrared waves in a Sunlighten sauna penetrate up to 1 1/2 inches below your skin to detoxify and revitalize your cells. The resulting deep, highly efficient sweat eliminates toxins at the cellular level.
Researchers have long known that toxic substances, including heavy metals, are secreted from the body through sweat. Therefore, the more you can safely sweat (while maintaining proper hydration), the greater quantity of toxins will be released from the body. Sauna usage is one of the most effective methods of inducing a detoxifying sweat. In a sauna detox, sweat carries toxins out of the body through the pores. But not all saunas are the same.
The deep penetration of infrared heat releases toxins from the fat layers just beneath the skin. It also helps your body eliminate toxins from your internal organs.
This incredible detoxification is accomplished through Sunlighten’s proprietary and highly efficient infrared heating technology. According to a recent scientific study, Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® infrared sauna heaters are the only ones clinically proven to raise core body temperature by 3 degrees (versus simply heating the air around the body). As a result, regular usage of a Sunlighten sauna provides a truly deep, productive, and detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where toxins reside.
Detoxifying your body, mind, and home after a long winter is a great way to start spring off with a clean slate!