Spring ahead and use the reminder to reboot your wellness goals.(Photo: SIAATH, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Daylight saving time is not only a time to reset the clocks, but also a time to reset health goals.
Springing ahead is a reminder to put a little more spring in your body. This is the time for a wellness reboot — a wake-up call to eat properly, exercise and create a safer and healthier way of living. This year, we set our clocks ahead one hour on Sunday and back one hour on Nov. 5.
“Daylight saving time is the start of spring, and spring is an excellent time for growth,” says Christine Scalfo, a certified health and nutrition counselor. “Everything is sprouting and bursting forth, and our energy is expanding. We can take advantage of this energy and utilize it for our health goals.”
Scalfo, owner of Food for Living in Vineland, enjoys helping people incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. She is certified in plant-based nutrition, and avoids eating animal products.
“You are what you eat,” she says. “If you fill your body with processed foods you will feel sluggish. Eating foods that are alive give you more energy. And these plant foods can help prevent disease.”
Scalfo says the key to healthy eating is going gradually instead of jumping in to a completely healthy diet.
“Don't make drastic changes overnight because they are not attainable,” she says. “Start by changing only one or two meals a week and then adding more. For example, start eating a healthy breakfast and once you are used to it add a healthy lunch, too.”
Keeping a food journal helps people be more accountable for what they eat, she says. And it is wise to make a daily menu before heading to the grocery store.
“You don't want to go to the store, buy a bunch of greens and then have no idea what to do with them,” she says. “Look at recipes, plan meals, make a grocery list and then shop.”
Scalfo says to eat fruits that have high levels of antioxidants such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and include many leafy greens such as kale, cabbage, Swiss chard and bok choy into your daily meals. Avoid processed foods and fatty foods, limit alcohol and cut out soda — especially diet sodas.
“Diet sodas use artificial sweeteners and your body doesn't recognize sweeteners as food so it doesn't know what to do with them,” she says. “And, because you aren't having real sugar, your body will crave sugar even more.”
Everyone has bad days or makes mistakes, and Scalfo says not to let this feel like a failure when it comes to eating healthier.
“If you fall off the wagon just get back on,” she says. “Every day is a new day.”
Jared Silverstein, owner of Kinetics 360 in Cherry Hill, says daylight saving time is a great time to revisit health goals including exercise.
“Energy and light go hand in hand,” says Silverstein, who has physical rehabilitation and personal trainer skills. “Before daylight saving time it's dark and dismal in the morning, and lots of people don't feel like getting up and doing anything. When the light comes, people start waking up earlier, their moods are up, energy's up and they have more motivation to exercise.”
Silverstein says when it comes to exercise, it is best not to be too critical of oneself, so when the sun starts shining take it slowly in the gym.
“Everybody has a starting point,” he says. “If you put in hard work, dedication and determination, you will reach your goals.”
And make goals attainable, says Silverstein. For example, if you are a novice to exercise, try making a goal to work out twice a week then slowly add more days instead of jumping in to five or seven days a week.
Remember that sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. (Photo: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media)
“If you are just starting out and set goals too high you will feel like you failed when you can't achieve them,” says Silverstein. “Set small, individualized goals to help you feel more accomplished.”
Doing a variety of exercises such as cardiovascular exercises, weight training, yoga, Pilates and others will help people achieve healthier results because each activity benefits a different part of the body, he says. And it is important to adopt good sleep habits.
“Sleep is very important,” says Silverstein. “I know it's difficult to sleep the recommended amount of time each night in today's world, but by getting enough you will have more energy in the morning. And during sleep your body recovers from exercise because your muscles are resting.”
It may help people sleep better if they use daylight saving time as a reminder to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Tammy DeLucca of the Cherry Hill Fire Department reminds us to check our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when we change our clocks. (Photo: Photo provided)
“We encourage people to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries at least twice a year when they change their clocks,” says Tammy DeLucca, public education officer for the Cherry Hill Fire Department. “Smoke detectors give people those vital extra minutes to get out of the house. And always check carbon monoxide detectors, especially in sleeping areas because unlike smoke, carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled. Both of these detectors are truly lifesavers.”
Keep a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of the kitchen area, says DeLucca. She says cooking is the most common cause of house fires because people walk away or get easily distracted. Fire extinguishers can be helpful, but it is important to learn how to use them.
“Fire extinguishers aren't going to help if your are reading the instructions as you need to put out a fire,” says DeLucca. “Visit your local fire department and ask them to show you how they work. If you know how to properly use a fire extinguisher, they can be beneficial.”
Daylight saving time is a good time to go over and practice a fire escape plan, too, she says.
“We teach the children in our schools to have an escape plan at home,” says DeLucca.
“If you have a meeting place outside of the home, it helps the family and the firefighters who need to know if there are still people in the house.”