3 To-Do’s for a Fit Fall Health Clean Up

October is chock-full of reasons to live better, eat right and work out. Breast Cancer Awareness month is the big one, but it’s also Eat Better, Eat Together Month as well as Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month and Mental Illness Awareness Week kicks off the month. That’s a lot. But instead of setting just one of these health targets in your sights, why not do what many of us do around the house or backyard at this time of year – do a full fall clean up. If you’re interested in checking in on your workout goals, lifestyle and diet consider these three to-dos to get you organized and prepared for the winter months ahead.

 

Clean up the diet

Dieticians say we are what we eat. Working out is a huge help of course. But to give your sessions at the gym or in your family TV room a fat burning, metabolism busting boost good diet is critical. As the thermometer dips our bodies naturally gravitate to warming, comforting foods as opposed to the salads and lighter meals of summer.

Be mindful of choices. Choose only whole grain bread and pasta – the extra fiber and nutrients in whole grains keep us full longer and help maintain healthy weight plus whole grains help protect against heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Instead of rich, creamy calorie-packed soups, opt for broth-based bowls. Chicken broth in a classic chicken noodle is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, amino acids and is rich in antioxidants to prevent inflammation while you stay active. And remember, greens aren’t only for summer. Maintain a healthy balance of fresh vegetables, kale, spinach and other greens for a cleaner cold weather diet.

 

 

Clean up sleep patterns

However you work out – intense HIIT classes, treadmill sessions or group fitness, you need energy to stay on track with your program and goals. But in winter, with shorter days and less sunlight the body’s natural levels of melatonin – which make us sleepy – don’t get suppressed as they do in summer. In short, we feel more tired, drowsy and less energetic for our workouts. Couple this with winter stress around the holidays and comfort food eating, and colder weather can quickly kill a workout program. Combat all of this by adjusting your workout schedule to peak energy times of the day, get into the sunlight as much as you can, augmenting gym workouts with brisk walks and outdoor runs as weather permits.

 

Clean up your workout schedule

Fall and winter, with the kids back in school one moment and the holidays bearing down upon us the next, can make it tough for many people to work out when and how they prefer. But a busier time of year doesn’t need to derail workouts. Give yourself some flexibility in your normal routines. If you typically take a group fitness class during the week, but can’t always make the time work, try an on-demand session at home, or in a dedicated studio space at your club.

If your day is suddenly jammed with extra odd jobs, kid runs or meetings, even an additional 30 minutes before work, over lunch or after you are done for the day can make a huge difference to your weekly workout totals. If you can get to the gym earlier, of find time at home, a daily circuit of short form, on-demand exercises can help you pack in time on the mat or fit in body weight resistance moves that don’t even require club equipment or a lot of set up at home.