As the days get shorter and the temperatures (hopefully) begin to drop, change is in the air. That's what makes fall a great time for renewal and fresh starts. In fact, experts say autumn is the perfect time to boost well-being and fine-tune your health by making one or two small changes that yield big results. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to get you on your way:
1. Let Beans Be a Part of Your Diet
It may sound silly, but if you do one thing to improve your diet this fall, we recommend eating 3 cups of beans each week. Besides being a comfort food, beans add flavor and texture to soups, chili, and casseroles. They're also a great salad topper! Beans are rich in protein, iron, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. So pick a bean, any bean -- lima, black, garbanzo, pinto, or others -- and enjoy!
2. Defuse Stress With Friendship
Fall is a good time to come back together after the summer scattering of vacations and busy schedules -- a great time to relax with friends. Soothe away stress by making contact in person or by phone with someone you care about, someone you haven't talked to because life got in the way. The positive emotions will make you feel good, and when joy and stress meet up, joy wins out.
3. Have Fun With Fitness
Improve your fitness this fall by trying a less-conventional workoutto spruce up your regimen.
Break out of your fitness rut by taking a ballroom dance class or a mind-body workout such as yoga or pilates. You'll be energized and more likely to stick with it.
4. Avoid Binging on Comfort FoodThe lead up to winter can be a bleak time for many dieters. Whether you’re trying to lose or just trying to maintain a healthy weight, staying strong through the change of seasons is important. While the cooler weather makes most of us want to reach for our favorite comfort foods, there are ways to curb your body’s urges. Keeping up with a regular workout routine is the first, and, second, try to avoid going to parties or functions hungry, too many food and drink choices are sure to foster overeating.
5. Heart Health: Know Your Stats
Give your heart health a boost this fall and capitalize on the seasonal sense of renewal to focus on prevention. This means scheduling an appointment with your doctor to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, as well as to see if your glucose levels are healthy. Knowing your numbers will help you figure out your personal risk for heart disease.
6. Synchronize Your Sleep
Manage the more demanding fall schedules by synchronizing your internal sleep/wake clock to the outside environment. In the morning, get outside within 5 minutes of getting up and expose yourself to bright light for 30 minutes. At night, avoid bright light within two to three hours of going to bed, because it might delay your sleep onset. This will keep you alert in the morning and make you sleepy at bedtime.
7. Get Your Flu ShotWant to spend a week of fall cooped up at home, suffering from fever, fatigue and aches? Didn't think so. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season." And no, no, no, the flu vaccine does not give you the flu.
8. Sign Out of Social Media and Head Outside
The leaves will soon be changing and satisfyingly crunching under your feet. The (usually) moderate temperature is a reprieve from the sweltering summer and a gift before the frigid winter. What better season to throw on a beanie and head outside? Plus, spending time outdoors increases your vitamin D levels, makes you happier and improves your concentration, according to Harvard Medical School.
It's time to renew yourself! Try these easy health-boosting tips -- they're sure to give you a fresh start this fall.