Staying Healthy This Fall

Runner

We may have far better fall and winter weather than many people throughout the country, but here in Brentwood, CA, staying healthy as the weather turns from warm, sunny and dry to overcast, chilly and damp still affects your health. That’s why I put together a health protocol that’s good for Brentwood residents and really no matter where you live. Warm weather means more activity, more sunshine and can even mean healthier foods and less comfort food. So how do you combat the natural instinct to huddle up in the house and much on empty calories?

Make a schedule and stick with it.

As the weather changes, so does your inclination to stay active. When the sun isn’t shining and the sky is overcast, it’s easier to sleep in and skip your workout. Start preparing to combat that urge and create a schedule. Plan for rain! If you run as your exercise, create an indoor workout to use for those days when it’s too foul out, rather than trying to muster through the weather. You may not feel like going to the gym and want to just curl up and stay in bed, but fight the urge by sticking with the schedule.

Eat healthy and look for seasonal foods to help you do it.

You’ll immediately recognize the fall and winter fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’re at farmer’s markets and cost less at the grocery. Winter squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, beets, cabbage and pomegranates are a few of the fall bounty. Resist the urge to eat high calorie comfort foods. As the temperature cools and the days get shorter, it’s built into us to seek out higher-calorie foods and eat more. Early man needed to gain weight as winter approached and foods became scarcer, but you don’t. One huge benefit of choosing fall and winter produce is that it’s kinder to the budget.

Get adequate sleep but don’t sleep too much.

You often hear that people need more sleep and shouldn’t be burning the candle at both ends, but did you know that getting too much sleep is also bad for you? Hypersomnia is just as bad as insomnia for your health. Too much sleep can have the same effect on your overall health as too little. If you’re getting more sleep than 7 to 9 hours a night, look to your health first, to make sure there’s no physical reason. Lots of times, we camp in bed on the weekend in the winter. It may be a sign of SAD—seasonal affective disorder. If there’s no actual physical reason, other than it just looks gloomy out, having a sleep schedule will help.

  • Drink more water. When it’s hot outside, drinking water is easy. You feel thirstier and that cold water quenches that thirst. You won’t feel as thirsty in the fall and winter, but you still need to stay hydrated.
  • Look for ways to move more. The more active you are, the more you’ll want to be active. It’s too easy to get into a rut. Start making changes like taking the stairs, parking further from the grocery or taking a few minutes walking break away from the computer.
  • Do your best to soak up sunshine on those sunny days. It doesn’t have to be traditional exercise. Raking the yard, cleaning the windows and doing outside work can serve two purposes.
  • Warm up with herbal tea. There’s so many that boost your immune system, such as chamomile tea, ginseng, holy basil and even green tea can help keep you healthier.

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