As the leaves begin to turn and we welcome the colors of Autumn, crisper weather and shorter days, it is Nature's invitation to think of the new season as a fresh start to many things.....including our health habits.
As a women's health expert, my patients often ask me how to enjoy this time of year to the fullest. My tips below are simple and ones i hope you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM
With fewer Covid related hospitalizations, lower infection rates, and decreased mortality, experts believe we are starting to turn the corner on the Pandemic. With that in mind, my advice is to live your life to the fullest but with caution and respect to others. We are by nature "social animals" but don't put yourself in high risk situations. In addition, masks may not offer complete protection in crowded spaces.
ENJOY THE OUT OF DOORS AND GET OUTSIDE
Consider signing off social media for awhile ....bypass the social media of others...and create a more interesting life for yourself. Exercise your senses with the sights and smells of Autumn, the feel of leaves crunching under your feet, the invigorating Fall air, and all the benefits of spending time outdoors. This includes better mental health and sun exposure which boosts Vit D levels and much more!
WHILE YOU ARE OUTSIDE, CONSIDER A WORKOUT!
A minimum of 2 miles a day....about 5000 steps on a Pedometer is a good start.....but also consider mixing it up a bit! Hiking, biking, tennis, golf, or for the less ambitious, how about a little game of Frisbee with "Fido"? And did you know that for an average weight person, 30 mins. of raking leaves, planting and weeding can burn roughly 150 calories!
EAT HEALTHY AND EAT WELL!
While local Farmers Markets abound with a panoply of color and variety....and apple orchards offer a singular experience.......it's an optimum time to eat healthy and eat well. Remember to hydrate and include nutritious foods rich in Vitamin C, yogurt with all its probiotic properties, and pumpkin, an Autumn favorite. High in beta carotene, your body will convert Pumpkin to Vitamin A....and don't forget pumpkin seeds, a great source of plant-based protein, fiber and magnesium.
SUPPLEMENTS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
As the weather turns colder, and we spend less time in the Sun, Vitamin D3, 10 to 20,000 units per day, can boost your mood and your immune system. Equally important are Vitamin C and Zinc to maximize immune support.
PLAN VACATION TIME
With the advent of Covid, many travel opportunities have been limited. And for those in the labor force, including those working at home, vacation time has accumulated. Psychologists will tell you that everyone needs time to unplug and decompress, and it you don't feel comfortable traveling, just spending quality time with friends, in person, virtually, or on the phone is vital.
TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF
Autumn and Winter are the Earth's way of telling us to slow down. Start a journal to track your moods and stay in touch with how you are feeling, read a good book by the fire on a chilly night, and be kind to yourself.
GET YOURSELF READY FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME
Try to plan to go to bed earlier when you can, especially the week before the clocks change. Longer periods of darkness = longer periods of sleep!
In the words of Winston Churchill, "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Although every day presents an opportunity to do some act of kindness, small or large, the season of Thanksgiving reminds us all of the endless possibilities to spread good will and boost our own endorphins at the same time!
Hugh H. Melnick, MD