Get Healthier This Fall: 8 DOs and DON’Ts

It’s hard to part with summer’s beach days, three-day weekends, and endless guacamole…but the start of fall is also a great opportunity to drop bad habits and pick up good ones. Keep reading for the bad summer habits you should drop, the good ones you should keep, and how to make this fall your healthiest one ever.

DO get your sleep back on track.

It’s easy to ditch a sleep schedule in the summer in favor of action-packed vacations, long weekend naps and waking up early enough to snag a lounge chair by the pool. But now that your schedule is settling down, make sure you’re penciling in enough sleep. A study published in the journal Sleep found that people who sleep six hours or less a night are four times more likely to get sick after being exposed to the cold virus—so make sure you’re getting seven to nine hours of snooze time to protect yourself as cold season approaches.  

DON’T skimp on vitamin D.

Levels of vitamin D—which helps your bones absorb calcium and can help protect against osteoporosis—peak in August before decreasing and reaching their lowest in February, a study published in PLOS ONE found. Make sure you’re getting enough—even if you don’t make it out of your office before sundown—by eating foods rich in the vitamin, like fish, milk, mushrooms and fortified cereals.

DO make sure you’re staying active.

Laps in the pool, frisbee in the park, beach volleyball…summer presents plenty of opportunities to stay active. But we start to move less as the temperature drops—one study published in Annals of Epidemiology in 2009 found that the average number of sessions of physical activity drops by 2-4 percent for every 10mm of rain and increases by 1-2 percent for every 10-degree Celsius increase in temperature. And a study published in 2014 in PLOS ONE found that lower temperature and shorter days were correlated with a decrease in activity among the elderly. Keep yourself active by planning more than Hulu marathons on the couch this fall—schedule walks with a friend, sign up for a new class at the gym or try a new activity you can do in any weather, like indoor rock-climbing.

DON’T forget the sunscreen.

Your days of spending hours on an inflatable pool float may be behind you, but sunscreen is a year-round necessity. Everyday exposure—even as the temperature drops—put you at risk for a damaging dose of rays, so make sure you’re applying before you go out to walk your dog, drive to work, go camping or whenever you venture outside for more than a few minutes.

DO take advantage of seasonal superfoods

No, we’re not talking about a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. But in-season foods like real pumpkin are packed with essential vitamins and antioxidants. Make sure your shopping list is full of fall foods like apples (Fuji apples have the highest concentration of antioxidants), cranberries (which can help prevent oral diseases and fight the growth of certain cancers), pears (which are packed with fiber), sweet potatoes (a great source of vitamins A and C) and, of course, pumpkin (which may promote healthy vision and cell growth).

DON’T get dehydrated

You may feel like you’re sweating out every ounce of water you drink during the summer months, but research shows that you’re actually more likely to be dehydrated as the temperatures drop, due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. Those cozy fall sweaters play a part too—the bulk of heavy clothing forces your body to work harder, and your sweat evaporates more quickly in colder, drier weather. Stay hydrated as it get cooler, and don’t shy away from warming up with a hot cup of coffee—a study published in PLOS ONE in 2014 found no evidence that moderate coffee intake causes dehydration.

DO get busy between the sheets

As you get a break from the heat outside, things may start heating up inside the bedroom.  Research shows that our levels of testosterone, the hormone associated with sex drive, is highest during the fall months. And if you’re looking to set the mood, queue up a romantic flick on Netflix—research has found a correlation between colder weather and a preference for romantic movies.

DON’T get injured cleaning up fall foliage

Damp leaves are a breeding ground for mold and mildew, reason enough to go through the yard on a regular basis. And though you may not think of raking leaves as a particularly high-risk activity, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 28,000 people injure themselves every year with unpowered garden tools, including while trying to remove leaves. Make sure you’re wearing slip-resistant athletic shoes to avoid slipping, and hold the rake in front of you at all times—repetitively twisting your body to rake leaves to your side can cause an injury.

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70 comments

William C
William C7 months ago

Thank you.

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W. C
W. C7 months ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Dt Nc
Dt Nc3 years ago

Danke

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Dt Nc
Dt Nc3 years ago

Danke

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Jeffrey Stanley
Jeff S3 years ago

TYFS

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federico bortoletto

Grazie.

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Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover3 years ago

very good tips to share-- thanks!!!

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Do enjoy the weather and time allotted for falling leaves display. :-)

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