September marks a month of change. The kids head back to school and people return to work from vacation. The days get shorter and the air begins to feel a bit crisper. While January is the official start of the New Year, September always feels like the start of a new year to me as we settle into a new routine.
The summer, with its longer days and warm weather, makes it easy to enjoy healthy living. There are so many opportunities to be active and fresh food is all around. As the fall approaches, you might find it a challenge to keep up with your healthy summer routine. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to give up on the progress you made over the summer. It may just mean a few tweaks here and there.
Explore the Outdoors
It may be getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay inside. Going for a walk, run or bike on your favourite trail in the fall is like discovering it for the first time. With the tourists gone, it’s not nearly as busy. And with the red, yellow and orange fall colours, it’s a beauty that rivals summer. If you don’t like hiking, just walk around your nearest park or your own neighbourhood and enjoy the fall colours there.
If you want to stay warm and dry when exercising, there’s a whole host of new programs that start up in the fall at your local community centre, gym and swimming pool. Enough to keep anyone busy. This can range from water aerobics to dancing to Zumba to yoga. It’s a fun way to exercise and meet new people at the same time.
If you prefer exercising at home, many dance and fitness programs can be found online. There’s also plenty of home exercise equipment you can buy. If you do, make sure you get equipment that’s durable and lasts for years to come. It’s more important to buy something you will use consistently than something that will end up being used as a clothes rack. However, something as simple as a skipping rope, a body ball or doing calisthenics such as push-ups and sit-ups can help you stay in shape over the darker months.
Fresh Food Abounds
The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of fresh foods. The fall presents its own bountiful harvest of healthy foods. From root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips, to squashes such butternut and zucchini, to beans and Brussel sprouts, there’s lot to choose from. Most of these foods have a long shelf life and don’t require refrigeration, just store them in a cool, dry place. They’re also packed with nutrients. For example, squashes are high in vitamin A and potassium. And if you eat the skin, you’re adding a great source of fibre too. For something sweeter, drive to your nearest orchard and pick some apples. It’s a great way to get your activity in too. With more than a dozen varieties, you’re bound to find something you like.
When it’s not Fresh, try Frozen
If you just can’t go without your summer fruits and vegetables, stock up now and freeze them. Most types can be frozen straight after picking them, no need for blanching or any other prep work. That way they’re ready to go months later. You can also get frozen fruits and vegetables from your local supermarket. They’re already peeled and cut into bite-sized portions, and come in a variety of combinations. With advances in farming and processing, many of the foods are frozen at the source and are actually fresher than the same food that has been stored and transported to the grocer. Cooking is as simple as putting them in a bowl with a small amount of water, cover and microwave.
The summer is great for sitting on the patio with family and friends, and getting outside. With the fall, everyone gets into their own routine again and there’s less get-togethers (until Thanksgiving and Christmas that is). Use that time to work on your own self-care. You may be busier with your routine, which makes it even more important to get time to yourself. Time alone is essential for healthy living. It provides a great opportunity to unplug and distance yourself from outside distractions. With that, you’ll come back to your tasks refreshed and recharged, and may even have a new idea or solution to something that’s been on your mind.
With any change in routine comes challenge, so don’t expect everything to click all at once. Set small, short-term goals to keep you focused and start as early in September as possible, that way, your new routine includes your healthy living program.
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