winter is coming

Short Days, Longer Nights: Here Are Seven Ways To Practice Self-Care Right Now

A case for getting out of the house and into everything good about fall.

The days are getting shorter, and the nights, longer. Nights that call for us to hibernate under a blanket on the couch, turn on our favorite movie channel and demolish all the lovely comfort food inevitably on offer this time of the year. Chilly mornings only make it easier to stay in bed rather than head our for that pre-work exercise class.

But all of this is ok, right? Isn’t fall the time of year when we let ourselves slow down a bit? When we retreat indoors and hide from dark, cold days until spring heads back around? When we let ourselves have all the pumpkin lattes, gingerbread, hot chocolate and marshmallows we want? After all, we are unofficially training for the real season of indulgence that comes in December, right?

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Well. It is true that this time of year brings its own beauty and charm, but (sorry folks) such is absolutely not an excuse to take your foot of the fitness pedal. If anything it is even more important for our health that we focus on staying well at this time of year. With that in mind, here are some season-appropriate opportunities to keep your body and health in top condition as we head into the cold.

Rake your own leaves. Those falling leaves look rustic and gorgeous, sure, but did you know that thirty minutes of raking can burn up to 135 calories?

Head to the park. The landscape changes dramatically during this season, so make the most of it and get out to your local park. Hiking or biking is a great way to appreciate the scenery and stay fit.

Hit the apple orchards. Autumn is the time of harvest, so burn some calories by traipsing through an orchard, picking those apples and gathering those pumpkins. (Bonus if you have a few kids to chat around, too.) Not only is it fun, but it’s productive—imagine how many delicious meals you can make out of those fruit and vegetables.

Go for a fun run. Check out the press and social media for a local fun run. At this time of year, you may find themed, family focused events to celebrate the harvest and Thanksgiving. What a perfect opportunity to get the little ones and/or the family pet out and have some fun.

Make good use of that TV. Explore some great indoor fitness pursuits such as dancing, yoga, hoola hooping, skipping with a rope, rebounding or check out a fitness DVD. All which can be conveniently carried out in the comfort and warmth of your home.

Get some ZZZ’s. Fall and winter is prime time for the cold and flu virus, so not only is important to keep active, but also to ensure you get plenty of quality sleep. A minimum of seven hours a night should help keep those bugs at bay.

Eat for the season. Your body will thank you for fueling it with local, seasonal produce.

Fall is a beautiful time of the year, and cooler days actually make exercise a little more enjoyable. So, yes, you can maintain your workouts, even if it might need a little tweaking to adapt to the shorter, darker days.

Your body and health with thank you for it.

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