8 Tips for a Healthier Fall

Simple ways to stay well and feel your best

Family having fun with fall leaves

For many of us, the return of fall feels like the start of a new year. Vacation time is over, the kids are back in school, and the days are shorter. It was OK to slack off a bit before, but now’s a good opportunity to get back to healthier living. Try making these habits part of your daily routine.

Have breakfast early
People who eat breakfast within an hour of rising tend to maintain a healthy weight and steady blood sugar. Go for whole grains, fruits or veggies, lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat. It can be as simple as a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and banana slices.

Organize to stay calm
Stress levels can rise when we feel rushed or out of control. Make a list at the beginning of the week of things you have to do. Use the list to prioritize. Maybe there are things you don’t have to do today. Set up places to put keys, school forms, bills, and anything else that gets lost easily.

Exercise when you can
Walk around the field during your child’s sports practice. Do body-weight exercises like squats and lunges during TV commercials. Think of exercise as something you can do in 10-minute blocks. Three blocks a day will produce benefits.

Go outside
Folks who exercise outdoors are more likely to exercise longer, according to a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research. Take a hike, go for a bike ride, or do yard work. Anything that gets your body moving more and your heart pumping harder is good for you.

Keep kids moving
Children need exercise just as much as grown-ups do. It helps maintain a healthy weight and sharpens the ability to pay attention. Short bursts of activity are good for kids. Researchers found that just two minutes of high-intensity exercise four times a day improved blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and fat metabolism in teens.

Make up for lack of activity
On days when you’re less active, make smart food choices. Limit or avoid starchy carbs, sugar, and alcohol to keep your body from producing fat. Track calories so you don’t eat more than you’ll use.

Be prepared
Keep healthful snacks handy so you’ll be less likely to grab a candy bar or chips. Wash and cut fruits and veggies in advance. Serve them with low-fat yogurt, almond butter, or hummus. Save the candy bar for the occasional splurge.

Schedule a checkup
Regular doctor visits can help prevent or treat conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed. Make sure screenings and vaccinations are up to date.