In the summertime, it's easy to fill our diets with fresh produce from the farmers' markets and fit in our daily workout, thanks to the longer days. But once autumn rolls around and temperatures begin to drop, a lot of these healthy habits can often fall by the wayside. So, as vacations come to an end, children head back to school and summer fun comes to a halt, we’re taking this opportunity to prioritize our health – to feel our best and give ourselves the energy we need in the new season. Here are some good warm-weather habits to stick with this fall.
1. Eat Fresh Fruits & Veggies.
Eating well keeps our immune system strong. As we head into flu and cold season (and likely, another Covid season), it’s time to continue to focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods high in vitamin C like organic citrus, berries, green veggies and peppers are best, in addition to vitamin D from farm fresh eggs and wild-caught fatty fishes. Also, beta-carotene found in carrots, sweet potatoes and squash (lucky for us, they’re all coming into season!) is a must.
2. Stay Active (Indoors & Outdoors).
Just because our bods will soon be covered under warmer clothes, it doesn't mean regular workout routines should go out the door. Daily exercise does wonders for the body. From enhancing quality of sleep to building immunity, burning calories to clearing the mind, fitness is key to quality of life. In the wake of fall, consider swapping out swimming for cycling or walking, and if weather is an issue, replace outdoor workouts with trips to an indoor gym or studio. Moving our workouts to morning hours also jumpstart our metabolism and help us stay in top physical and metal shape. Don’t forget to vary up exercises to maximize muscle mass, burn more calories and flush stress and toxins from our system.
3. Morning Routines Matter.
Fall often brings busier days and the need for more structure than summer, which means it’s the perfect time to overhaul our morning routines. Journaling first upon waking or taking supplements with a healthy breakfast are great ways to start the day off right. Other options are to meditate, initiate a gratitude practice or do a few stretches with the sunrise. Whatever rituals we choose, it’s about prioritizing self-care and giving to ourselves before we turn our focus outward and set about our day.
As summer comes to an end, typically, so do our travel plans. But who says we can’t explore into fall? Planning a quick getaway just a few hours away – whether it be by car or train – can offer just the fresh break we need and keep life feeling adventurous. As can staying home and engaging in local activities we often don’t make time to do. Enjoy the foliage, camp in warm climates, travel to a great museum or wildlife park. Not to mention, with summer travel being pricey and often crowded, fall excursions can help preserve our resources for even more travel.
5. Drink Water.
During the warmer months, we know to drink as much water as possible in order to stay hydrated. But it’s just as important to drink water in all seasons. Fresh water purifies the body, helps keep pounds off and serves as an overall daily detox. And while it can be tempting to opt for flavored beverages, it’s healthier and much kinder to our waistline to pass on the liquid sugar. So, invest in a new water bottle, fill it up and commit to drinking its contents twice per day. Pro tip! As temps get colder outside, consume water with no ice and a squeeze of fresh lemon It’s cleansing, hydrating and tastes delicious.
6. Wear Sunscreen.
Don't skip this essential skincare step – sunscreen. It's easy to remember our summer routine when we see bright sunshine and feel the heat. But even though the sun might not feel as strong in fall and winter, UV rays are here year-round (and now stronger than ever). Even when it’s cloudy, it’s important to protect our skin to avoid skin cancer, sunburns, wrinkling and sunspots. For best results, opt for a sunscreen that’s a combined daily moisturizer and keep sunglasses and a hat at the ready, so they’re always there when we need them.
7. Spend Time in Nature.
There’s no better time of year than fall to be outside. With temperatures cool enough not to overheat but warm enough not to make us shiver, it’s an ideal season to walk, hike or go forest bathing. Taking in small doses of sunlight each day helps support our circadian rhythm, promoting restful sleep, and keeps our Vitamin D levels healthy. Known to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels, promote good bone health and build immunity, healthy doses of vitamin day are also a great way to prevent seasonal cold and flu. Just be sure to dress in layers for those last-minute temperature swings!
8. Slow Down.
The summer season is often associated with being able to slow down. Breaks from work and vacations are scheduled, kids are out of school and long days make for more social and outdoor time. But in every season, it’s critical to find time to pause. Offering a respite from routine, slowing down enables us to connect more deeply with our emotional, mental and physical patterns, ultimately promoting more self-awareness and appreciation for our surroundings. Consider carving out an hour a week to simply stop. Still the mind, take in the sounds and see what sparks arise.
9. Prioritize Sleep.
We all know sleep is good for our health, but as we head into the hectic schedules of fall and then, the holidays, it’s truly essential that we get enough zzz’s. In order to get a good night's sleep, avoid using any sort of technology one hour prior to bedtime, skip caffeine after noon and sip on soothing, herbal tea to relax before bed. If news or entertainment can be triggering, opt for a book or magazine instead of Netflix. Rituals like epson salt baths, self-pampering and slipping into cozy loungewear also promote a restful mood.
10. Schedule Dr.’s Appointments.
Summer ends, fall begins and before we know it, the holidays are upon us. Make sure to schedule routine screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies before insurance plans reset and the year is out. Aside from keeping up with regular medical check-ins, clinical trials have shown that screening can save lives. We’re fortunate to have imaging and surgical practices to help catch cancers early, so open the calendar and book appointments for optimal health.
“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” — Henry David Thoreau