It's time to dust and declutter our homes so why not spruce up your health too?

THIS year more than most, it’s not just our homes that need a spring clean.

As we emerge from a winter like no other in lockdown, our bodies could do with a once-over too.

So just as you’d wield that duster from room to room, why not make your health shine too? “It’s always a shock to see how much dust has gathered behind the sofa,” explains GP Dr Philippa Kaye.

“Spring cleaning is a check on our homes but we need one for our bodies as well. Look after your health and get any worrying symptoms checked out by your GP. Earlier diagnosis often means things are easier to treat.

“After this winter, especially, when we have spent more time than usual indoors, it’s really important to give yourself an MoT. Spring cleaning your health could boost your mind and body as lockdown lifts in the UK.”

Here, some of the UK’s top medical experts share their top tips for spring cleaning your body and mind.


SINCE Covid-19 hit the UK more than a year ago, we’ve missed everything from dental appointments to mammograms, cervical screenings and sight tests.

This Morning GP Dr Philippa Kaye advises: “If you have missed a test, you should book it without delay.

"As we begin to come out of lockdown, check that you are up to date with your health checks.

“Do you need an eye test or a dental check? Are you overdue for your cervical screening?

“Whatever it is you might have missed, make your appointment and go.”

What’s more, if you have put off seeing your GP about any niggling problems, book in and get them checked out – it’s better to be safe than sorry.


AS it gets warmer it’s time to peel off the winter clobber, and as you do, keep your eyes peeled for any signs of skin cancer.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff says: “It might be a good idea to get your moles checked by a GP or dermatologist.

"Through the winter people have been wearing lots of layers and may not have been checking their moles each month, as is recommended.

“Now it’s warmer, take a fresh look and check those moles.

“See if any of them have changed, if any look irregular in shape, colour or border, or if you have developed a mole which looks different from all the others.

“If so, see a GP to get them checked out.”


ONE in seven of us have been binge-drinking more frequently during lockdown, according to a study by University College London, putting us at greater risk of cancer, dementia and liver disease.

Nutritionist Amanda Ursell says: “It really is worth looking at our alcohol intake and doing an honest audit.

“It’s incredibly easy to out-drink the 14-unit limit each week.

"Remember that a unit is half a pint of four per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) of lager, beer or cider, a 125ml glass of eight per cent ABV wine or one 25ml shot of spirits.

“Our livers benefit almost immediately from giving up alcohol in a spring clean or simply cutting right back.”


AS the evenings draw out, it’s time to say goodbye to exercising inside your home and get active outside.

“Lots of people have been doing indoor workouts over the winter,” explains YouTube fitness trainer Lucy Wyndham-Read.

“But now the weather is brightening up and the evenings are lighter, it’s a great time to move that workout outside.

“If you have been doing daily walks, you could up the intensity with a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.

“Simply walk for one minute then jog for a minute. This is a great way of improving your cardiovascular health, getting the lungs working and burning calories.

“As your fitness improves you can adjust the ratios so you are running or jogging for longer and walking for shorter periods of time.”


THE so-called “sunshine vitamin” D – because we absorb it from direct sunlight on our skin when outdoors – is vital for keeping us healthy.

But by the end of winter, especially this year after we’ve had to spend so much more time inside, many of us may find our levels depleted.

Nutritionist Kim Pearson says: “As lockdown measures begin to lift, it is vital to ensure we are not deficient. Months of winter spent in lockdown means many of us have not had enough exposure to the sun to produce optimal levels of vitamin D.

“Getting daily exposure to natural light is important, but it’s also worth considering a supplement.”

Kim recommends BetterYou’s range of vitamin D sprays, which are easily absorbed by the body (£6.99 at

Signs of deficiency include tiredness, aches and low moods. If you think you might be deficient, you can also buy a simple home test kit.


YOU should really be wearing sunscreen all year round, according to the experts.

But by spring you should start upping the SPF to protect against skin cancer, especially as lots of socialising is going to be taking place outside.

“Pick a sunscreen that protects you from harmful UVA rays which cause ageing as well as UVB rays, which burn,” Dr Alexandroff advises.

“Not only does it reduce your risk of skin cancers but it also keeps your skin young for longer.

“Dermatologists recommend at least SPF30 but personally I’d go for SPF50.

“If you are very meticulous with sun protection it’s worth having your Vitamin D levels checked annually too, to make sure you do not become deficient.”


GETTING good sleep can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

But it’s not always about the number of hours you spend in bed.

“If you are not getting enough sleep, it’s common to feel tired, groggy and irritable,” explains sleep expert and chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo.

“You may not look or feel good, but it’s not simply about how many hours of sleep you get – it’s about quality of sleep too.

“The old wives’ tale of an hour before midnight is worth two after stands true. This is because you fall into the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep before the clock turns 12.

“If you go to bed an hour earlier, even if you get up an hour earlier the following morning, you will achieve better quality sleep and reap the benefits.”


BINGE-watching was a rite of passage through lockdown, but as we start to see restrictions ease it’s time to start switching off.

“It’s always a good idea to reduce our screen time,” says Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan.

“Instead, use the time to talk to friends and family in person. Take advantage of the rule that allows you to meet someone outdoors and hopefully soon you’ll be able to meet in groups.

“Take more exercise and generally try to spend more time breathing in fresh air.

“Spending time with nature has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones, slow your heart rate and have beneficial effects on blood pressure.

“I’m a fan of cold sea swimming all year round – the buzz you get makes you feel so good you won’t need to seek solace in a computer, TV or phone screen.”


SOCIAL media is everywhere, it seems. But giving your Instagram and Facebook feeds a spring clean by unfollowing certain accounts can really benefit your mental health.

“The best thing we can do for our mental health is to remain conscious of how we treat ourselves,” says Natasha Tiwari, psychologist and CEO of the Veda Group.

“Remember this has been a tough year, so be your own best friend, give yourself what you need including kindness and compassion.

“Be mindful of who you spend time with, virtually and in real life, and that may include reassessing how you use social media, so that the company you keep and the way in which you spend down-time is both nourishing and refreshing rather than a drain on you.

“It may be just what you need to unfollow accounts that leave you feeling small and low.”


ALONG with longer days and the promise of warmer weather, spring also brings with it a new crop of fresh produce.

Nutritionist Kim Pearson says: “No matter how health trends evolve, eating more fresh fruit and veg should always be a priority.

“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, buying the same veg week in, week out – but focusing on seasonal produce can help you to get a variety of nutrients in your diet.

“Opt for fresh, local and seasonal produce and pack your plate with plenty of different colours. Vegetable box schemes such as are a great way to get fresh produce delivered to your door weekly.”

Right now carrots, leeks and rhubarb are coming into season, so stock up. It’s cheaper too.

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