Well, it’s time to face the fact that summer is over. Fall has arrived! With it comes shorter days, longer nights and cooler weather. This can bring a challenge to some to stay consistent with their health. There is no longer enough time in the day to get an outdoor workout in, colder temps encourage people to stay inside more, and staying inside more can lead to eating more.
There are various seasonal produce gems that you can add to your diet throughout the fall. Let’s start with the obvious, pumpkin. And no, we do not mean the pumpkin spice flavored latte you get from Starbucks with loads of sugar in it. Pumpkin is full of fiber and beta-carotene which converts into vitamin A in the body. Those apples you will more than likely be picking this season have great health benefits too. Apples contain many essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals (Antioxidants, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B). They are free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Studies have shown they can help aid digestion, boost your immune system, lower risk of heart diseases and boost brain health. So maybe spending hours picking apples is now a little more worth it for you?
Cranberries are plentiful during the fall. They have a wealth of different nutritional benefits, including being able to help protect from UTI’s, improve digestion, and boost your immune system. They can pair well with a variety of meats and poultry. You can also add them to your salads or eat them as a healthy snack to go. Beets are also a nutritional giant. A whole beet is a measly 35 calories and brings a wealth of nutrients to the table including Vitamin C, Iron, and Beta Carotene.
Sweet Potatoes are another great option if you are looking for a healthy, tasteful carb to add to your diet. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and Vitamin A. They also are a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. These are a perfect side dish to any meal, weather it be with a morning omelet or a steak dinner at night. There is never a bad time to have some sweet potatoes!
There are plenty of produce options that you can add to your diet this season. So maybe after you are done apple picking, stop by your local farmers market and check out their selection.
Remember that the clocks will be set back an hour soon, which means it will begin getting dark earlier. There are still plenty of options you can do outdoors during the fall if you have the time. Hiking is always great during the fall; the foliage scenery always makes it worth it. Bike riding and brisk walks can still be done during the fall if you have the time to get it done during the light hours of the day.
If you were going for a run after dinner during the summer you may need to find the time to get it done a little earlier in the evening or become an early bird and get it done as soon as you wake up in the morning. If that is not an option for you and your schedule, join a gym that you can get to whenever or start doing at home workouts. Whether it be following along with workout videos, having a treadmill at home or having a set of dumbbells and doing some body weight exercises, there are plenty of ways you can alter your workout to adjust to the season.
Shorter Days = Sleep More
With the days getting shorter, this is the perfect time to get more rest. The change in temperature can often lead to exposure to germs causing people to feel under the weather. Sleep will help prevent you from getting sick during the fall. Make sure you are getting enough rest for your body to recover and repair itself. Not only will this help with fighting off colds but extra rest can help you reach your physical health goals. It may take a while to get your sleep schedule down after the time change, but getting a proper 7-8 hours of sleep a night can drastically improve your overall health.
Yes, Stay Hydrated. This may seem obvious to some, but you’d be surprised at how many people do not drink enough water throughout the day. According to research done by the University of New Hampshire, we are more likely to be dehydrated in the cooler months then the warmer months. Our thirst response usually diminishes during the fall and winter since we are not dealing with warm temperatures. So, it can be very easy to forget to take a sip of water every 30 minutes or so, when your body is not telling you you’re thirsty.
Take care of your mind and body during the fall. Let’s start from the inside out. It is always important to take care of your mental health but now can often be a time when stress arises. Summer vacation is over and your routine is starting to get back to normal. Whether it be school or work, most people tend to get busier during this time of year and with the holidays looming, stress starts to build. The season can lead to depression on its own, some suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can put some into a depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD usually begins and ends at the same times every year. For most people it begins in the fall and continue into the winter. Don’t brush off your mental health, take time to reflect on your life. Try to do things you enjoy and spend time with the ones you love. Take it easy on yourself and try to use physical exercise to relieve the stress.
When it comes to your physical health, be sure to take care of your immune system during the fall. As previously stated, the fall can often expose people to many viruses, so be sure you are taking extra nutritional steps to improve your immune system. Changes in temperature and humidity can drastically impact your skin. To avoid getting dry skin, moisturize and keep your skin hydrated.
The fall truly is a beautiful season, but it can be very easy to slip up when it comes to taking care of your health during this time of year. Don’t wait until the new year to set your resolutions. Start fresh this fall and set your goals and try to be consistent with them. Slip ups here and there are not the end of the world, so don’t punish yourself for that. Just try to hold yourself accountable and use some of these tips to help take care of your health this fall.