Tips on how to make the new season a healthy one! By Mindy Murray, OTR/L
It’s time to welcome back the short days, crisp air and colorful leaves of fall. Though the season is beautiful, it does require a bit more of an effort to keep yourself healthy and happy than summertime. When you factor in less daylight and the upcoming seasonal gatherings, it’s easy to fall short of healthy living.
Fall brings time for change. Come 2am Sunday, November 3, we’ll have to turn our clocks back an hour, which means it will be getting dark earlier. Getting darker earlier brings safety issues with being outside. In our little town we have the gift of easy access to walking and biking. Stay safer by crossing the roadway at lit intersections. Carry a flashlight when walking or a bike light and reflectors when biking. Despite the law requiring drivers to stop at all intersection crosswalks, marked or not, some still do not follow those rules. Make sure to make eye contact with the driver prior to crossing the road by bike or foot.
Keep motivated: It is easy to stay a bit longer under the warm covers when the weather starts to get a bit cooler. It is important to find your motivation. What fall sports get you moving? Choose something you'll enjoy doing and will be likely to keep up, whether it's jogging, skiing, hiking with a friend, working with a trainer, walking your dog or taking part in a yoga class. Creating a challenge for yourself will motivate you, as will encouragement and accountability.
Injury prevention: I am just as excited as the rest of you when it comes to the holidays. I love the decorations, the traditions, the big meals and more. I see an increase in the number of injuries associated with the season. I have come to find out that most of these seasonal injuries can be prevented, so here are some tips. While you are cleaning up leaves, use the power of your legs by pulling the rake toward your body. You want to avoid bending and straining your lower back. Do not twist and bend together, as this is likely to cause injury. Save your lower back by lifting with the larger muscles of the legs, and avoid using the smaller muscles of the low back. When picking up large, heavy or bulky items (like the Christmas tree), bend your legs in a squat-like fashion and then straighten them to lift. It is important to keep the object as close to your body as possible, and avoid holding objects at arm’s length.
Eat wisely: It is easy to overindulge with food and drink during the holidays. Here are a few good eating habits to carry you through the season. Before a holiday party, eat a small protein-packed snack, like a boiled egg or apple slices with peanut butter, which will help you not to overindulge. Distance yourself from the food table; that will make it harder for you to mindlessly take from the table. I also find that putting a piece of gum in my mouth helps me to stop eating.
With these tips we can enjoy what really matters: being healthy and happy with our family and friends all season long.