10 Healthy Habits for Fall

Forget New Year’s resolutions – at SuperheroYou, we’re all about making goals in the fall. Autumn is a surprisingly unhealthy season. We’re more stressed as lazy beach days give way to academic and professional commitments. We exercise less and we eat more – in fact, Americans on average eat 200 more calories daily in the fall. Much of this is biological. Historically, we took advantage of the fall harvest to prepare for potential winter famine. Early nights play a role too: less sunlight means less serotonin, so we become more depressed and seek it out in carbohydrates.  Unfortunately, in 2014, our biological urges just mean an even unhealthier routine than normal.  Develop good habits now to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holiday season, reducing weight gain and your risk of illness.

1. Eat seasonally.

Even the healthiest diets fall by the wayside when cooler temperatures hit – Americans eat less produce in the fall and winter. But autumn’s arrival is no excuse to stop eating still-plentiful seasonal fruits and vegetables. Hit the farmer’s market, asking vendors what’s best to eat, and institute Meatless Mondays to encourage yourself to try new foods. Try squash to boost serotonin or sweet potatoes for a dose of antioxidants for your immune system. Most fall foods can be prepared in healthy and unhealthy ways, so be careful with your recipes. Think broth soups instead of creamy ones, or sliced apples instead of apple pie. If all else fails, stock your fridge with frozen vegetables to keep your produce intake up.

2. Get outside.

Think it’s too cold to get outside? You’ll be dreaming of this weather come February. Going outdoors combats depression, boosts our vitamin D levels and immune systems, and reduces stress and fall allergies. Exercise and do chores simultaneously by raking leaves. Or go have fun! Autumn is chock-full of outdoor activities like nature hikes, apple picking and pumpkin carving. Whether it’s a day at a farm or a 30-minute walk after dinner, spend as much time now as possible. Just stay safe – dress in layers to keep warm, wear sunscreen and be prepared for it to get dark early.

3. Try something new.

Even if you’re not in school anymore, fall is a season of rebirth and renewal. So take advantage and implement a new exercise routine to prevent both colds and some holiday weight. Start by clearing out your gym bag and going shopping for essentials like new running shoes. Then, check out the new gym classes starting up, sign up for an intramural team, or learn a new skill like inline skating. You can also try a fun fall charity race. Loved your summer workout routine? Reevaluate it to see if you need a change, whether that’s due to weather or because you want your body to stay active in new ways.

4. Be careful with the TV.

Autumn means football season and the returns of all our favorite TV shows. But we’ve already warned about the dangers of sitting all day, and those dangers increase exponentially when you move from a desk job to hours on the couch. Limit your TV watching to two hours a day (and yes, this includes Netflix marathons). Stay active by doing exercises during commercials, or watch TV while you run on the treadmill. Don’t stuff yourself with comfort food, and stop mindless eating. If you must munch on chips, put them out in a bowl instead of reaching inside the bag. Finally, as relaxing as TV-watching is, staying inside all day can be depressing. Make sure to meet up with friends a few nights a week instead of spending all your time on the couch.

5. Stay hydrated.

While you’ve heard this refrain throughout the summer, it’s easy to forget when the weather cools down. But you still need water to keep your body at peak performance and flush the toxins out of your body. Can’t bring yourself to down a chilly smoothie? Try warmer beverages like hot cocoa or apple cider. And if you need a caffeine fix, try green tea instead of coffee to help combat viruses and increase your metabolism.

6. Relax.

After a lazy summer, the new stressors of fall can be a jolt to your system. Letting this stress pile up will shatter your immune system, ruin your day and could even kill you. So don’t forget to relax in the fall. Sleep well, meditate and consider getting regular massages. Take care of your psychological health too, whether by going to church or getting some coffee with friends. Try these tips on 6 Ways to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed.

7. Curl up with a good book.

We love reading on the beach in the summer. But nothing beats curling up on the couch with a good book as the leaves fall outside. This autumn, don’t forget to go to the ‘brain gym’ sometimes instead of watching TV all day. Try something uplifting to stay in a good mood all day, or go for an educational tome. If you rarely read, try a book that has an upcoming movie. We’re big fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – the motion picture adaptation comes out October 3rd.

8. Plan it out.

Autumn is often full of new commitments, which is why our healthy habits are the first to go. But you can prevent that by prioritizing your health and planning it out. Create a fall goal, whether that’s to eat healthy or work out more, and write it down somewhere to stay accountable. Schedule your workouts and cook in bulk so you always have healthy leftovers in the freezer. Stock up on healthy snacks to reduce your reliance on comfort foods. You too can maintain your summer body throughout the winter with just a little work.

9. Watch your alcohol.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually drink more alcohol in the summer than in the fall. Guess all those mojitos are catching up to us? But we drink plenty in the fall too, as we hit the bars for football season and guzzle cider at Thanksgiving reunions. Worse, the cold weather makes us reach for heavier drinks. So be careful with how much and what you imbibe – especially if you have an after-work happy-hour habit. Stick to wine and light beers, and avoid the pumpkin cocktails.

10. Keep healthy habits from the summer.

Do you have healthy habits you’ve maintained throughout the summer? Perhaps you wake up with a green smoothie or walk around the park on your lunch break. Some routines might need tweaking, like warming up your breakfast. But if you have a habit that works for you, don’t feel forced to change it. Making some adjustments can be nice, but doing too much could overwhelm you.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Forget New Year’s resolutions – at SuperheroYou, we’re all about making goals in the fall. Autumn is a surprisingly unhealthy season. We’re more stressed as lazy beach days give way to academic and professional commitments. We exercise less and we eat more – in fact, Americans on average eat 200 more calories daily in the fall. Much of this is biological. Historically, we took advantage of the fall harvest to prepare for potential winter famine. Early nights play a role too: less sunlight means less serotonin, so we become more depressed and seek it out in carbohydrates.  Unfortunately, in 2014, our biological urges just mean an even unhealthier routine than normal.  Develop good habits now to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holiday season, reducing weight gain and your risk of illness.

1. Eat seasonally.

Even the healthiest diets fall by the wayside when cooler temperatures hit – Americans eat less produce in the fall and winter. But autumn’s arrival is no excuse to stop eating still-plentiful seasonal fruits and vegetables. Hit the farmer’s market, asking vendors what’s best to eat, and institute Meatless Mondays to encourage yourself to try new foods. Try squash to boost serotonin or sweet potatoes for a dose of antioxidants for your immune system. Most fall foods can be prepared in healthy and unhealthy ways, so be careful with your recipes. Think broth soups instead of creamy ones, or sliced apples instead of apple pie. If all else fails, stock your fridge with frozen vegetables to keep your produce intake up.

2. Get outside.

Think it’s too cold to get outside? You’ll be dreaming of this weather come February. Going outdoors combats depression, boosts our vitamin D levels and immune systems, and reduces stress and fall allergies. Exercise and do chores simultaneously by raking leaves. Or go have fun! Autumn is chock-full of outdoor activities like nature hikes, apple picking and pumpkin carving. Whether it’s a day at a farm or a 30-minute walk after dinner, spend as much time now as possible. Just stay safe – dress in layers to keep warm, wear sunscreen and be prepared for it to get dark early.

3. Try something new.

Even if you’re not in school anymore, fall is a season of rebirth and renewal. So take advantage and implement a new exercise routine to prevent both colds and some holiday weight. Start by clearing out your gym bag and going shopping for essentials like new running shoes. Then, check out the new gym classes starting up, sign up for an intramural team, or learn a new skill like inline skating. You can also try a fun fall charity race. Loved your summer workout routine? Reevaluate it to see if you need a change, whether that’s due to weather or because you want your body to stay active in new ways.

4. Be careful with the TV.

Autumn means football season and the returns of all our favorite TV shows. But we’ve already warned about the dangers of sitting all day, and those dangers increase exponentially when you move from a desk job to hours on the couch. Limit your TV watching to two hours a day (and yes, this includes Netflix marathons). Stay active by doing exercises during commercials, or watch TV while you run on the treadmill. Don’t stuff yourself with comfort food, and stop mindless eating. If you must munch on chips, put them out in a bowl instead of reaching inside the bag. Finally, as relaxing as TV-watching is, staying inside all day can be depressing. Make sure to meet up with friends a few nights a week instead of spending all your time on the couch.

5. Stay hydrated.

While you’ve heard this refrain throughout the summer, it’s easy to forget when the weather cools down. But you still need water to keep your body at peak performance and flush the toxins out of your body. Can’t bring yourself to down a chilly smoothie? Try warmer beverages like hot cocoa or apple cider. And if you need a caffeine fix, try green tea instead of coffee to help combat viruses and increase your metabolism.

6. Relax.

After a lazy summer, the new stressors of fall can be a jolt to your system. Letting this stress pile up will shatter your immune system, ruin your day and could even kill you. So don’t forget to relax in the fall. Sleep well, meditate and consider getting regular massages. Take care of your psychological health too, whether by going to church or getting some coffee with friends. Try these tips on 6 Ways to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed.

7. Curl up with a good book.

We love reading on the beach in the summer. But nothing beats curling up on the couch with a good book as the leaves fall outside. This autumn, don’t forget to go to the ‘brain gym’ sometimes instead of watching TV all day. Try something uplifting to stay in a good mood all day, or go for an educational tome. If you rarely read, try a book that has an upcoming movie. We’re big fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – the motion picture adaptation comes out October 3rd.

8. Plan it out.

Autumn is often full of new commitments, which is why our healthy habits are the first to go. But you can prevent that by prioritizing your health and planning it out. Create a fall goal, whether that’s to eat healthy or work out more, and write it down somewhere to stay accountable. Schedule your workouts and cook in bulk so you always have healthy leftovers in the freezer. Stock up on healthy snacks to reduce your reliance on comfort foods. You too can maintain your summer body throughout the winter with just a little work.

9. Watch your alcohol.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually drink more alcohol in the summer than in the fall. Guess all those mojitos are catching up to us? But we drink plenty in the fall too, as we hit the bars for football season and guzzle cider at Thanksgiving reunions. Worse, the cold weather makes us reach for heavier drinks. So be careful with how much and what you imbibe – especially if you have an after-work happy-hour habit. Stick to wine and light beers, and avoid the pumpkin cocktails.

10. Keep healthy habits from the summer.

Do you have healthy habits you’ve maintained throughout the summer? Perhaps you wake up with a green smoothie or walk around the park on your lunch break. Some routines might need tweaking, like warming up your breakfast. But if you have a habit that works for you, don’t feel forced to change it. Making some adjustments can be nice, but doing too much could overwhelm you.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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