Gotta Run: Good practices for a healthy fall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 9, 2022

I love the fall, including the seasonal beauty, better conditions for running and exercise in general plus all the festivals, ball games and more. Here are some of my thoughts on how to make fall a healthier time.

Don’t spend too much time eating high calorie and high fat comfort foods. We’re just started the final quarter of the year when we all have choices to make about whether we take control of our nutrition. Heading into flu and cold season, eat healthy foods with vitamin C like oranges and grapefruit plus other immunity boosters such as garlic, ginger, spinach and almonds. Take time to dine in at home where you have more control of nutrition instead of fast-food choices.

Take advantage of in-season foods like apples, brussels sprouts, cranberries, cabbage, pears, turnips and pumpkin, one of my favorites. Pumpkin is full of minerals and nutrients, plus vitamin A and beta-carotene. Avoid the canned version which is loaded with sugar and syrups. Try something new at the local produce market, especially something you’ve thought of before but were afraid to try.

Stay on top of your hydration. I am never surprised that once hydration is addressed and made a positive, the body responds with better performance. I’m just like everyone else, I have to work at proper hydration when its cool. Watermelon will likely stay in my fridge as long as I can find it. Make sure your pee is clear and a better body response is a given, not just physically but mentally as well. Better skin comes with better hydration too.

Speaking of skin, make sure to get outside to get your vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium. Salmon, tuna, eggs and milk will help add vitamin D as does a quality supplement, but what better fun to go for a walk in the cool air and watch the leaves and sounds of nature. A walk improves mood and creativity too, so it’s great for the workplace too.

Watch the sugar intake especially since you will likely be at least somewhat less active. Halloween candy is a big culprit and it’s just ahead so be cautious of keeping extra around the house. Particularly anything with Reese’s Cups in it, my energy on a bike ride becomes a culprit for a few extra pounds at home. And about any football or baseball game on TV means a lot of sitting and the possibility of endless high calorie snacks. Explore healthy choices like fruit and veggies.

Fall is a great time to get your physicals and regular screenings. Maximize your insurance benefits while getting the results ahead of the holidays can provide information on specific areas for needed improvement. The average weight gain of Americans annually is 2-4 pounds, and we are headed into the time of year when it typically occurs.

Keep your normal sleeping patterns if they work well. Too little or too much sleep both can be detrimental as described in last week’s column. If you sleep too little, fall is a great time to add time for quality sleep.

Schedule some time for fall fun and stick to it. Looking forward to Interesting events and even day trips boost mood and joy of life. Set aside time for yourself such as reading, going to a movie, writing, long walks and more. You will be better for others when you take care of yourself.

And finally, get your exercise. If more darkness or cooler temps are a limiting factor, explore what the YMCA and the gyms have to offer. Look for classes that you haven’t tried and beat the rush of the New Year to backtrack on bad holiday choices. Moderate exercise boosts immunity and reduces stress.

The next races on the calendar are the Halloween double, the St. Matthews 5K and the Spooky Sprint 5K. Both have great courses, shirts, awards and refreshments. Look for these and more upcoming events at