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Fresh Start for Fall: Best Bets for Building Immunity

By Martha Michael


Whether you live under the glow of the Northern Lights or on a sandy oceanfront beach, you probably experience some winds of change about every three months. A lot of people love autumn -- either for its cooler weather, the return to a classroom, or the homestretch toward the holidays. Whatever the reason, you’ll enjoy it more if you stay healthy all season.

The Benefits of Enjoyment

It’s hard to leave the good vibes of summer behind, which can make it easy to fall into a post-vacation slump. It’s important to pay attention to signs of a downward spiral because feelings of depression can cause more than just mental suffering. Your physical and psychological health are connected, so the positive outlook that results from doing things that you enjoy can contribute to your overall well-being.

Settling into a fall routine doesn’t mean it has to be boring. There are plenty of reasons to love the autumn months, according to an article in Reader’s Digest:

  • Fewer bug bites
  • Pumpkins and hayrides
  • Trees turning colors
  • Apple picking
  • Fresh cider
  • A focus on gratitude
  • Cozy clothing
  • Scents of fall spices
  • Less sweating

Many different activities -- from museum visits to art walks -- will expand your mind and provide you with new experiences (which build new neuropathways). There are also active options that more directly benefit your health.

An article in Health Fitness Revolution has a list of healthy fall activities you can choose from.

Bike riding - There’s no better way to see the seasonal changes in nature than on the seat of a bicycle. It’s good exercise that boosts your respiratory system while giving you a breath of crisp autumn air.

Horseback riding - You don’t have to wait for a vacation to hit the trails on the back of a horse. Find an equestrian facility within driving distance or make it a long weekend at a dude ranch.

Play a pickup game - Participating in sports offers a bigger benefit to your heart health than sitting on the sidelines from the comfort of your couch. For instance, a woman can burn up to 472 calories playing touch football for an hour.

Farmers market - Whether you pick your own produce or visit booths in the center of town, fresh food is typically a healthier choice than what you find on grocery shelves.

Rake leaves - If you live where the trees drop their colorful growth in the fall, it means there’s yard work available to keep you active. The raking, mowing, blowing, and pruning involved in gardening makes it a productive way to get some fresh air and burn calories.

Join a gym - While most gyms are crowded in January due to people who make resolutions to get in shape, you can begin your workout regimen in the fall. While everyone else is letting their summer swimsuit body go by the wayside, you’ll be getting fit for the holidays.

Take a class - If autumn makes you feel like learning, take a class such as yoga or tai chi. You gain a benefit to mind and body.

Hike - If the weather permits, do some hiking. It’s a way to enjoy some wind in your hair and Vitamin D from the sun while your physical body gets some conditioning.

Preventing Illness

Though no one can avoid every possible setback, there are steps you can take to stay healthy all season. “Balance and harmony” are keys to maintaining a strong immune system, says the Harvard Health Medical School website. You become prone to infections and serious conditions such as cancer when your immune response is compromised. One of the best ways to strengthen your immune system is through healthy lifestyle choices such as the following.

Exercise - Building fitness improves cardiovascular function and lowers your blood pressure. These health benefits contribute to your overall health, which boosts your immune system.

Sleep - Seasonal changes can affect sleep patterns due to new family schedules or a shift in the length of daylight. A lack of sleep can diminish your ability to fight illness by suppressing your immune system.

Healthy food - A balanced diet is important all year round, but the best part about seasonal change is you can replace your tired recipes with a new meal plan using different fruits and vegetables.

Vaccinations - Although COVID-19 may get more press, flu season is just around the corner. There are vaccines for both available -- check with your health provider.

Chiropractic care - One of the primary benefits of chiropractic care is improvement to your body’s ability to fight illness. Manual adjustments create better alignment of your spine, which maximizes your immune system response.

We’re all taking the same ride around the sun, but the experience is different depending on where you live. Some parts of the U.S. will barely notice a change in temperature while residents elsewhere will put their snow shovel on standby. As autumn approaches, there are some widely accepted means of staying strong, healthy, and sane, and that includes having a little fun and enjoying what your neck of the woods has to offer. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that fall is the best time to see the Northern Lights.

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