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Feeling Your Best as You Say Goodbye to Summer

In October, as the air cools, you start to slow down, stay indoors more often, get cozy, and begin to crave comfort foods and baked goods.

If you stay inside and there is less daylight, you don’t get vitamin D from the sun.

If you cozy up on a comfy chair or couch too long, you don’t get the right amount of exercise.

If you satisfy our cravings with comfort goods and baked goods, you begin to gain weight and it impacts your health overall.

Although humans don’t hibernate per se, you naturally adjust and succumb to the cooler season automatically. Also, the cooler temperatures and less daylight make it harder to keep your exercise routine. As long as you recognize this occurrence, you can take action and adjust your routine.

In addition, as the weather changes, health issues, such as colds, allergies, and viruses, start to arise. You need to be fit both physically and mentally to keep your immune system strong to fight against these infectious intruders.

Follow the below suggestions for staying healthy through the cooler seasons:

Get enough vitamin D. Only 15 minutes of sunlight daily will help. Other sources of vitamin D: Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, mackerel, eggs, and mushrooms. Also, consider supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as cereal, milk, and yogurt.

Stay Active. Adjust your fitness routine and bring some indoors. Try a new indoor activity, such as dancing, kickboxing, or pickleball. Fall cleaning helps you stay active and is mentally rewarding, so get rid of stuff, clean out your closet and drawers, and organize. A brisk walk in the afternoon makes a difference.

Acts of Kindness. Look for ways to give back to your community. Find hands-on ways to get involved, such as fostering a pet, mentoring, or visiting the elderly. This benefits your mental health and the wellbeing of others.

Keep an eye on calories. Naturally, you will become less active during this season, so you will burn less calories. Choose comfort foods wisely. Select a vegetable-based soup instead of cream-based. Add fiber-rich vegetables, such as spinach, chard, carrots, broccoli, and beets.

Eat foods to boost the immune system. Citrus fruits and veggies such as broccoli are packed full of vitamin C. Some nutrient-dense options: Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, crab apples, cranberries, and turnips. Try something new, such as, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, Beets, broccoli, eggplant, kale, pumpkin, squash, almonds, ginger, garlic, and dark leafy greens.

Minimize sugar consumption. Halloween is just around the corner, so have a plan to substitute the traditional candy. Don’t buy your bag of candy too early and don’t buy too much. In either case, you will be tempted to eat it. Take the rest to work or donate it.

Get on the pumpkin kick. Make pumpkin seeds. Look up healthy recipes using natural pumpkin and not canned, such as pumpkin soup, stir fry pumpkin, pumpkin seed cinnamon parfait, pumpkin spiced oatmeal, pumpkin smoothie, and low-calorie pumpkin pie in a cup.

Stay hydrated. Cooler air can dehydrate because your body works hard to stay warm. Count your servings to make sure you are getting enough H20 infused liquid. Moisturize your skin.

Keep a sleep schedule. Since it is darker earlier, you may have a tendency to go to sleep earlier. Also, it is darker in the morning, so you may want to sleep in more. These changes in sleep pattern can throw off your circadian rhythm.

Health check. Wash and sanitize hands on regular basis. Schedule any wellness visits missed during the summer months. Get your vaccinations in October.

Check on mental health status. Be aware of the seasonal depression that starts to happen this time of year and the stress of the upcoming holidays.

The cooler weather is actually a good time to enjoy the outdoors. The air is crisp, the fall colors are magical. Stop to notice the sounds of nature around you. Fall is the best time to walk on a trail through nature, which will boost your mood and creativity. There are so many trails inside and outside of Pittsburgh to choose from.

Most of all, enjoy what this season has to offer.

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