The onset of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days—along with the temptation to stay indoors instead of getting out and soaking up the fall foliage. Let the temporary scenery be your inspiration to get out and get active before the winter months start to take a toll on your energy levels and motivation. Here are some ways to establish healthy habits in the coming months.
Is trick-or-treating with your children or neighbors on your October to-do list? Turn a generally unhealthy sugar-fest into a calorie-busting outing for you and your family and friends. Take part in one of the many Halloween-themed runs or walks scheduled throughout the country over the next few weeks. Don your costume and your running shoes to infuse some healthy (and fun) activity into a fall tradition. Runnersworld.com is a great website to find local running events and other advice for both new and experienced runners. Search the RaceFinder and sign up for an upcoming event.
Take a Hike
As the weather changes and the leaves begin to turn brilliant shades of orange and red, some trails offer breath-taking views that you might have avoided during the more humid summer months. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and explore the natural beauty that your area has to offer. Even a stroll through through your neighborhood or local park can raise your heart rate and enable you to experience the physical and mental benefits of exercise. Feeling adventurous? Check out this listing of state parks and begin planning your fall-themed journey.
Get Enough Sleep
While more energy and increased mental sharpness are two long-standing benefits of logging a regular eight hours of sleep, a new study is now showing a very real link between sleep loss and weight loss. According to a study performed at University of Chicago's General Clinical Resource Center
, cutting back on sleep reduces the benefits of dieting. Said study director Plamen Penev, "Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent." Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to your overall wellness; now you have a new incentive to revisit your sleep habits.
Get a Massage (Regularly!)
Has preparing for the back to school routine and the impending holiday season left you feeling more stressed than normal? Now is the perfect time to integrate massage therapy into your regular health and wellness routine. Massage is a proven stress reliever and new research shows that massage also reduces inflammation post-exercise. Finding a qualified massage therapist is easy. Just visit AMTA's Find a Massage Therapist national locator service and search by name, location or technique. National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October 21-27, is a great time to find special incentives from AMTA member massage therapists in your community.