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Ah yes, fall. Shorter days, crisp and cool air, football games, and pumpkin recipes aplenty! Some of us get depressed putting away the swimsuits, turning on the heater instead of the air conditioner, and pulling sweaters out of the back of the closet. However, the fall can be a great time to start fresh with some healthy habits. It’s just a short pocket of time before the holiday season hits us, so here are a few tips to start your autumn off with a healthy mindset!
Because the temperatures tend to cool down a bit and the days slowly get shorter come fall season, it becomes easier for many of us to go to sleep earlier and for longer periods of time. Sleep is beneficial for our bodies, so don’t look at this as a bad thing. According to research from Harvard Medical School, insufficient sleep – less than six hours a night – wreaks havoc on our hormones and increases the levels of inflammatory chemicals that contribute to heart disease. This means it’s okay to get in your pajamas at 5 PM during the fall and get in bed a little earlier than you might during the months where the sun is out longer.
Fall can be a great time to establish new routines. It tends to be a season of new beginnings –school starts again for many while others are greeted with new work projects after returning from summer travels. Setting a solid rhythm for your day is a great way to stay on track. Getting in the habit of waking up at a certain time and eating meals at regular intervals can help improve energy levels and overall time management. It might seem difficult at first, but your body will adapt.
Who can ignore the superfoods that fall brings us in abundance? Pumpkin, pears, squash, and sweet potatoes galore – all full of complex carbohydrate to help boost serotonin and keep our moods stable, as well as fiber to keep us satisfied! Autumn produce also tends to be low in calories and high in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect the heart and eyes. It’s a great time of year to start your morning off with a pumpkin smoothie like this one from us here at NutriBullet HQ. This could also be a great midday snack or dessert!
Temperatures during the fall tend to be cooler than during the summer, so it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather before the harsh winter season comes around. Crisp fresh air is known to have a positive impact on our mental health, making us feel less stressed out. Add daily walks or hikes into your active routine to boost your overall health.
Speaking of activities, this is an excellent time to start adding them if you don’t have one already! Running and hiking outdoors are usually pleasant this time of year, depending on where you live, and you can do them alone or with a group. Many team sports groups, like dodgeball and softball, start up their seasons in the fall; it’s also a great way to meet other active people.
Some other fun activities during the fall include roaming pumpkin patches, attending pumpkin carving events, or picking fruits at your local orchards. Even fruit picking can burn calories if you do it for long enough. Plus, you get healthy fruit to nosh on afterward! This may not be possible for everyone, but check out the scene in your local newspaper or internet for fun fall activity options near you.
With fall foods and festivities just around the corner, we have plenty of reasons to celebrate! The new season brings new ways to stay healthy, from enjoying brisk walks in the cooler weather to digging into all the delicious and nutritious produce fall has to offer.
What are you most excited about in the fall?
Carrie Gabriel studied nutrition at California State University-Los Angeles and got her RDN through the Coordinated Dietetics Program there. She works as a dietitian for different corporate wellness companies, creating recipes for cooking demos and content for nutrition seminars.
She created her company, Steps2Nutrition, in 2012 in hopes of working more one on one with busy professionals and their specific nutritional needs. She has an advanced certification in weight management and specializes in gluten and dairy free meal preparation for various clients.
You can find some of Carrie’s healthy and delicious recipes and meal tips on her website, www.steps2nutrition.com, and on her Instagram and Twitter account, @steps2nutrition.