How to be Healthier this Fall

Sep 25, 2019 7:58:02 AM / by Voyage Healthcare Team posted in Family Medicine, Health Tips

As the days get shorter and summer comes to an end, so does the desire to be outside. Keeping healthy during the colder months can be a bit more challenging, and we are here to give you some tips on how to do it. Loving couple smiling and enjoying the autumn season

Set up a realistic fitness plan

Just because the weather isn’t quite as nice as it was in the previous months doesn’t mean you should lock yourself inside. Staying active helps boost your energy, reduces your risk of health issues, and clears your mind from negative thoughts and stress.

Cold days can tempt you to stay cuddled up on your couch and use the “it’s too cold to go outside” excuse. Don't listen to yourself! Studies have shown that exercising in cooler temperatures actually helps boost your immune system.  

The best thing to do is to set yourself realistic fitness goals. Figure out what types of exercise motivates you and start with 2-3 sessions a week, and stick to it! We know it's hard, especially with all the delicious comfort food that fall brings with it, but make sure to balance it out.

Eat right

Delicious pecan pies, warm stews, and pumpkin spice lattes start to creep into our diets almost as soon as the temperatures drop. But, don’t forget to eat your fruit and vegetables.

Proper nutrition is important all year-round, and there are many benefits to eating seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, we are lucky enough to have access to different fruits from all around the world, all year long, but the natural cycle of produce is designed to support our health. Why not take advantage of nature's gift?

It can be hard to know what fruits and vegetables are in season, so we’ve listed a few below with their added health benefits: 

  • Apples: antioxidants
  • Beets: anti-cancer properties
  • Eggplant: high fiber
  • Peppers: antioxidants and vitamin C 
  • Pumpkin and squash: high in vitamin A

As the colder seasons start to settle in and flu season approaches, making sure our bodies have the right nutrients is important. The following vitamins are especially necessary for fall:

Vitamin A: Helps support your immune system and eyesight.
Primary food sources: dairy products, fatty fish, carrots, leafy greens, and mango.

Vitamin D: Most of the exposure to vitamin D comes from the sun, but during the colder seasons, it is vital to make sure we also include it in our diet, as it supports our immune system and helps maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Primary food sources: dairy products, oily fish, and eggs. 

Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant and helps prevent heart diseases and cancer.
Primary food sources: oranges, lemon, kiwi, chili peppers, and cranberries.

Echinacea: Great for an extra boost to your immune system and to ward off any early cold symptoms.

Hydrate 

You’ve heard it time and time again, but it’s essential to stay hydrated if you want to be healthy. The average person should be drinking half of their body weight in ounces every day.

Drinking plenty of water has many benefits for your health, including: 

  • Healthier skin 
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Prevents kidney damage
  • Flushes body waste

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water, which we are continually losing through sweat and bathroom visits. Studies have shown that losing a mere 1-3% of fluids can result in mild dehydration, impairing aspects of brain function. Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated. 

A tip is to have a bottle of water with you at all times. Be it in your backpack, at your desk, or at arm’s-reach around the house. That way, you have no excuse. 

Sleep

After an active summer, getting back into a routine can be hard. Diet, fitness, and rest are the three main pillars of health and wellness. Skipping out on a few crucial hours of sleep can become a vicious cycle, and have a severe effect on your mental and physical health.  

The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep every night, and without it, they can find themselves irritable and with low motivation. Lack of sleep can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression.

How to get a better night's sleep:

  • Try going to bed at the same time every night
  • Avoid working or studying in your bed 
  • Keep your electronics away from arm’s reach
  • Remove any clutter

Dress for the weather

Changing out your shorts for a pair of pants can mean the end of summer fun, but colder months have their perks, too! Cuddly sweaters, hats, and scarves are a nice fashion statement while keeping you warm this fall. 

Dressing for the weather is important, to protect yourself against weather related problems, such as hypothermia or heat-related illness. Since fall is neither freezing cold nor excruciatingly hot, check the temperature and be aware of what activities you are going to be doing before deciding on your outfit. A good idea is to dress in layers, that way you are more flexible for any changes in the weather.

Get your flu shot

As we leave summer behind and prepare for winter, rapid changes in temperature can affect our bodies, and our immune systems are at risk. According to the CDC, a flu vaccine is needed every fall to make sure you stay healthy.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to make sure you are up to date with your flu shot.

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Voyage Healthcare Team

Written by Voyage Healthcare Team

Voyage Healthcare is an independently owned, multi-specialty healthcare clinic — guided by the doctors who care for families in the northwest metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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