Fall is a great time to adopt new healthy habits
When cooler weather creeps in, it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with a good book and a toasty blanket rather than striking out on a hike or bike ride. But if you can resist the temptation to head into hibernation mode, there are dozens of reasons that make fall a great time to revamp your health and fitness routines.
- Autumn tends to be less hectic than summer. With a more predictable daily routine, you can schedule more time for exercise, meal planning and prep, and other healthy habits.
- Paying extra attention to fitness and health in the fall helps you start new healthy habits before the holiday season and upcoming winter months. You can “arm yourself” against the temptations of eating too much, putting exercise on the back burner, and getting less sleep than you need to feel your best.
- If you start now, your chances of resisting temptation are better. Most fitness and lifestyle experts agree that it takes 30 days for the body to turn lifestyle changes like diet and exercise into habits. If you make it through those first 30 days, your healthier habits are much more likely to stick.
Fall is the perfect time to be active outdoors without working up a sweat. Milder temperatures and less intense sunlight make it easier to stay outside longer without getting overheated. Walking, hiking and biking on a local path or in a park can be even more enjoyable in the fall. Take time to notice how the trees and plants take on new colors and a different kind of beauty as leaves begin to fall.
If you live near a lake or on a coast, the beaches are much less crowded in the fall. Rather than dodging beachballs, steering clear of sand toys, and trying to tune out a nearby teen’s blaring radio, you may have the place to yourself. Stroll the shoreline at your leisure. Notice how the light plays on the water. Sea and sky can look completely different from season to season and can be especially beautiful in the fall.
You don’t have to take it outside
Indoor fitness venues may be less crowded in the fall, too. Check out a local pool for lap swimming or water aerobics. You’ll get a full body workout with no impact on your joints.
Just as school is getting back in session, new classes at gyms and fitness centers often start in the fall as well, and group classes have a different kind of energy that you don’t get from a solo workout. Find a class that looks like fun, rather than promising to deliver a brand new you. Chances are, you’ll meet others who just enjoy moving, and you can help each other learn the routines.
If you prefer to exercise on your own, have specific fitness goals or health considerations, you might want to sign up with a personal trainer. Hire a pro who can tailor workouts to your specific needs, and get you on the right track, right from the start.
Fall fitness is about more than exercise
Part of staying fit as you age is simply staying active. Focus on active hobbies you enjoy and make time for yourself every day. If you enjoy gardening in the spring and summer, consider cultivating some fall and winter plants to get you up and moving for a few hours each day.
Enjoy woodworking? You can keep active by creating gifts for grandkids or to give away to friends and family. Fall is the perfect time to plan a larger, winter-long project, too. Build your timeline, gather your supplies, and you’ll be all set to saw, sand, stain and shellac when you’d prefer to be indoors anyway.
Fall foods are full of goodness
Some of nature’s healthiest snacks can be found in abundance during autumn. Apples and pumpkins are loaded with fiber and lend themselves to both savory entrees and sweet desserts. Sweet potatoes and figs are at their best in the fall, and provide lots of vitamin E and potassium. And it’s not too late to enjoy the last of summer’s produce like vine-ripened tomatoes, peaches, pears and plums from local orchards. Eat them fresh, or chop and freeze for fruit smoothies later.
Build your resistance against cold and flu bugs
Autumn is a good time to jump start your immune system with regular, moderate exercise. You’ll find it easier to manage stress, combat anxiety or depression, and you’ll probably find that exercise helps you sleep more soundly too – getting good sleep is another effective way to ward off colds and flu.
Take a tip from the trees and learn to let go
Make fall a time for looking inward, forgiveness of self and others, and a time of new beginnings. Just as the trees shed their leaves, consider how you can let go of worries and concerns, and replace them with the calm that comes with self-reflection, quality time with friends or family, and the enjoyment of autumn’s quiet beauty.
Before making any changes to your diet or fitness routine, you should consult your healthcare provider.