Do you feel that autumn chill in the air? For many of us, the change in season is marked by tucking away sundresses and sandals in the backs of our closets baited breath until summer. However, don’t tuck away those sneakers, bicycles, and healthy eating habits with your swimsuit. You can maintain your workout and eating regime well into the fall.
Making adjustments to the changing weather can always be a little difficult, but between fall food and activities there are many ways to make those adjustments to benefit your health. Here are eight easy ways to remain healthy and fit throughout the fall…
1. Make Time for Exercise
One of the biggest misguided notions we make is that we’re much too busy come September to remain active. Now that might be going to the gym after work or going for a run in the morning, but the kids and their back-to-school needs can really put a damper on free time for working parents. Suddenly that free hour or two you had all summer long is taken up by picking the kids up from school or driving them to soccer practice. Regardless, your health is worth shifting your schedule—be it by leaving a bit early from work to hit the gym or arranging a soccer car pool with another parent a few times a week so you can free up time for that run.
2. Focus Meals Around Fresh, Local Produce
Sure we tend to crave comfort foods when the cold weather sets in, but that doesn’t mean those healthy eating habits should be taken place by high calorie, fatty meals. To avoid piling on hibernation weight, focus your meals on fresh local produce—such as squash, beets, apples, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, and kale—to ensure you’re getting some essential vitamins and nutrients in those crock pot meals.
3. Adjust Workout Attire For the Temperature Change
I know how it is on those cold mornings when you’d rather be tucked snug in bed versus going for a brisk run. However, you can maintain a comfortable exercise routine in autumn if you dress for the temperatures. Get yourself a snazzy running jacket and gloves, and splurge for those new shoes you’ve had your eye on. Staying active and outside in fall will help you combat the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SADs) known as the fall blues.
4. Make Healthy Comfort Food
Sure cheesy casseroles are great in autumn, but what you really want are hot, hearty meals. Luckily, you can still do that with your health in mind via your crock pot. Prepare thick stews and soups using autumn’s plethora of healthy vegetables while staying away from temptations to load up on cream and cheese-based sauces.
5. Reboot That Immune System
Protecting yourself from the risk of a fall cold or flu can be tricky at this time of year when the weather cools and everyone at the office starts to come down with a nasty cough. Along with maintaining an active lifestyle and a diet rich in vitamins and nutrient-rich veggies, ensuring you get enough sleep is crucial to an efficient immune system. And that means ensuring a minimum of 7 hours of solid sleep per night. Inadequate sleep and too much stress will only leave you susceptible to illness if a cold virus is making the rounds.
6. Eat Breakfast Every Day
You already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—thanks mom. However, studies back up that claim, linking eating breakfast to the consumption of fewer total calories consumed throughout a day. That means, if you make time to eat a nutritious breakfast (i.e., oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt) your glucose levels will remain balanced and you’ll be less prone to mid-morning sugar cravings.
7. Relish the Beauty of Fall
Just because the weather is cooler and damper doesn’t mean you should hibernate inside until spring. Actually, I find that running in fall is much more comfortable than it is in summer. The weather is also prime for hiking, bike rides, exploring your city on foot, raking (ok, maybe not), walking the dog, and playing with the kids.
8. Protect Yourself Against Influenza
Fall season (aka flu season) takes all prisoners it can. Influenza and cold viruses are extremely contagious in crowded places—like the office, school, grocery store, and even among family members. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from contracting the flu by getting your annual flu shot and by maintaining vigilance in the face of a spreading cold. So get those wet wipes out and be sure to clean any surfaces (i.e., work phones, computers, kitchen counters) that may have been sneezed or touched by someone with the flu.