Your Health

Get fit for fall and back-to-school season

Family cycling
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The local climate provides an extended season for families to get outdoors for activities like bike riding.

It’s hard to believe summer is nearly over. The days will soon be getting shorter, the weather will eventually be getting cooler and the kids will be heading back to school.

According to the American Council on Exercise, changing seasons can impact our health, sleep, mood and general behavior. While it may be tough to say goodbye to the carefree days of summer, there are ways to embrace the new season with our physical, mental and emotional health intact. The key is to focus on fitness, nutrition, sleep and mindset.

Fitness

While you may have been active during the summer with outdoor activities such as running, biking, swimming, hiking and more, you don’t have to stop those activities altogether just because the season is changing. We’re lucky to live in a part of the country where the warm weather carries into September and October. Therefore, it’s exciting to have the option to continue with those activities if you’d like, by incorporating them into your fall schedule whenever possible. Perhaps you can still get in a morning run a few times a week before work and school, or take the family out for nature hikes or bike rides on the weekends.

It’s also a good time of year to think about restarting your gym or studio workouts to get into a more structured exercise regimen. It’s a nice way to reconnect with your community of friends and acquaintances in those classes, which can help keep you motivated and consistent with your workouts.

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, there are many delicious fruits and vegetables in season during the fall months, including apples, bananas, pears, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins and mushrooms. You can take your family apple picking or hit the pumpkin farms and farmers’ markets together to stock up on produce.

In addition, it’s the ideal time of year to experiment with new recipes for baking breads and making soups and stews. Get creative and take advantage of the upcoming season to introduce variety in your meal planning.

Sleep

With family vacations, camps and other summer activities coming to an end, it’s a good time to get everyone back into a routine sleep schedule, especially with the start of school just around the corner. Reinstate regular bedtimes and have the family go to bed and wake up at consistent times to break out of jet lag or irregular sleep schedules that may have developed over the summer.

Start rituals such as baths or showers and brushing teeth about an hour before bedtime to wind children down. Avoid sugar, liquids and computer screens a few hours before bedtime to minimize disruption to sleep and enable everyone to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the new season and schedule.

Mindset

While summer may be coming to an end, the fall season has much to offer. It may just require a shift in mindset and embracing the change and the new beginnings that come with it.

Participate in sports activities as well as school and community events. If you’re interested in a fun local event this fall, attend the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival, scheduled Sept. 8 and 9 on Castro Street. My fitness studio, Passion Fit, will be featured on the Community Stage noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 9, so stop by to dance into fall with our local fitness and dance community.

Reena Vokoun is owner of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit, which offers Train, Sculpt and Dance classes 9 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at Arete Dance Center, 979 Fremont Ave. For more information, visit passionfit.com.

 

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