5 ways to stay active this fall

As summer winds down and the cooler weather sets in, it may be tempting to start to hibernate indoors. But fall is the perfect time to be outside. Fall is such a beautiful season full of colour and great weather.  Here is a quick list of fun ideas to help you keep active this fall:

Visit Farmers’ Markets

Fall is the perfect time to visit a farmers’ market.  Seasonal produce offers a lot of variety: apples, pears, pumpkins, winter squash, root vegetables. Shopping at a farmers’ market can save you money, and you can’t get fresher food than that picked at a local farm – locally grown produce means better taste and higher nutritional value. You also help to support local farmers, helping to strengthen the local economy. If you have time, you could even go apple picking or visit a pumpkin patch – nothing says “autumn” more than these two activities.

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Forest bathing

Forest bathing (Shinrin yoku in Japanese) is a Japanese practice of healing, which is simply mindful walking through a forest. The principle behind forest bathing is to use the forest for its calming, invigorating effects, in a very similar way to aromatherapy. Forest bathing is very meditative – as you walk through the trees, you can feel fresh air on your face, listen to the sound of the leaves under your feet and the birds chirping around you, and allow your mind to calm, lowering your blood pressure. Studies have shown that the scents on a forest contain phytoncides (wood essential oils, such as cedar and pine), chemicals with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties emitted by plants. These phytoncides directly increase white blood cell activity, offering a strong boost to your immune system.   Have time to camp in a forest? Even better.

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Yard work

Yes, fall is also time for that (sometimes) dreaded yard work. As the cold weather approaches, we all have some kind of work to do: preparing our gardens for winter, raking leaves, putting away patio furniture – this all counts as activity. And the cooler weather makes it much more comfortable to work up a sweat. Just remember to dress for the weather and to stay hydrated. Depending on where you live, the UV rating might still be high making sunscreen a necessity as well.

Exercise outdoors

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For some of us, a return to a fall schedule means that our kids are back in school, and their usual after-school activities. For others, our commute seems to take longer once everyone is back from summer vacations. Whatever the situation, it is important to do our best to try to find time for exercise. Paddling a canoe or kayak is great exercise. Both offer aerobic and upper body strength benefits, and being on the calm water surrounded by fall beauty helps to relieve stress. Another great fall sport is cycling -  taking a long bike ride is another fun way to “get away from it all”, and is great for building muscle and improving heart health.

Get involved in local activities

Research online to find activities that are going on in your area. Seasonal fairs, craft shows, some farms even set up corn mazes, hay rides and other fun fall activities. These are great ideas to get your family involved.

 

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/