As we head deeper into the fall season, it's easy to give up on staying active since the warmth and encouraging sunshine of summer has dissipated. Your typically health-conscious attitude may start to wane as the chilled air discourages you from making your way to the store to stock up on healthy foods. You might be prepared to hole up for the winter already, hunkering down into your comfy house with little exercise and only eating foods that are fast, easy and often unhealthy. However, the fall is a prime time for fitting in some essential blood-pumping exercise and other activities to gain some momentum and propel your way through the frigid winter months; it's also a great time to explore the many ways you can enjoy healthy, seasonal foods. Here are some tips for staying safe, healthy and active this autumn.
1. Prepare for the weather.
When it comes to partaking in outdoor activities and exercise in the cool autumn air, it's important to properly dress yourself, taking into account any of the elements you may encounter. Dressing in layers is an easy way to protect your body from becoming too chilled, and it's easy to remove an item of clothing if you work up a sweat. Depending on the temperature outside, when you're dressed too lightly and exercising outside for a significant period of time, you could be susceptible to hypothermia—something that will definitely put a damper on your outdoor activities.
2. Stay safe outdoors.
Keep in mind that with the fall comes fewer hours of daylight, which can bring with it a need for more safety concerns. For example, if you decide to head out for a run as the sun begins to set, make sure you bring along your cell phone, wear light-reflective athletic gear so you will be seen by drivers, and also maintain awareness of your surroundings and route. If you're not extremely familiar with your route, it can be easy to become disoriented and possibly lose your bearings with the lack of sunlight.
3. Enjoy the fall colors by hiking.
The fall is a great time to take a walk or hike and revel in the fleeting beauty of the vibrantly-hued trees and foliage. Briskly walking in the fall air can be great for clearing your mind and helping you enjoy life a moment at a time while also getting your heart pumping and your body moving. Try walking or hiking on a scenic trail, and even add to the experience by meditating as you walk, focusing on the chirping of birds or the trickling of a stream to help relax your mind and get you in tune with nature.
4. Go to an apple orchard and pick your own apples.
Fall is a prime time for many delightful foods, like apples. The next time you head to your favorite apple orchard, try picking your own apples instead of buying an already-prepared box of them. Picking your own apples can be a particularly exciting activity for you to enjoy with your kids, as it's a great way to encourage physical activity outdoors. In addition, apples are rich with nutrients like vitamin C
, fiber, B vitamins and phytonutrients. Apple picking with your family can be a great way to demonstrate a health-conscious attitude, showing your kids that it can be fun to pick their own foods and eat healthily.
5. Make a trip to your farmer's market.
While the crowd from the summer may have weakened, the fall is an excellent time to stock up on some of the produce that is now at its freshest. Some great fall superfoods include winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and pomegranate—each of which supply a variety of essential vitamins and minerals for boosting your health. Squash is rich with beta-carotene
and vitamin A
, and pumpkin provides a great dose of fiber
6. Stay active indoors when the weather's not great.
If you're located in a climate where the weather is often unpredictable, the fall can bring weather colder than normal, even stirring snowfall. In cases where it's not realistic for you to exercise outdoors, try to fit in some indoor workouts. Pick up some exercise DVDs, pop them into your video player and get moving. Don't let dreary weather days deter you from getting active!
7. Rake leaves.
While it may seem like a chore to some, raking leaves can be a workout and a way to get your whole family involved. The act of raking and bagging leaves utilizes the muscles in your upper body and can help tone your arms and shoulders. Raking and bagging leaves for one hour can burn up to 292 calories, according to Men's Fitness
. Kids can get involved with raking, too, and even turn it into a fun activity where the reward is to jump into a massive pile of leaves—and then start raking all over again. After an afternoon of raking, try treating the family to some locally-brewed apple cider and donuts for a seasonal refreshment.
8. Walk through a corn maze.
Corn mazes are often popular in the fall, as a way to enjoy the outdoors while fitting in some calorie-burning exercise. Walking through a corn maze helps keep your brain active, and getting lost might be the best part! The longer it takes to make your way through, the more calories you burn, the more toned your body can get and the better you can feel from being on your feet.
9. Pick pumpkins.
Picking your own pumpkins for either a source of nutrition, carving or decorative purposes is a great way to get into the fall spirit. As you meander through a patch carrying a decently-sized pumpkin for about an hour, you can blast away up to 280 calories
10. Keep your body protected with vitamins and nutrients.
Cold and flu season starts in the fall, so it's a perfect time to boost your immune system with vitamins and other essential nutrients. If you're not already taking one, a multivitamin
is a great way to ensure well-rounded health support. Receiving enough vitamin D
is particularly important at this time, as your levels may naturally deplete from lack of sun exposure.
We hope you enjoy these suggestions for staying healthy and fit this fall. Have a great weekend, and check back next week for more healthy living tips!