Wow! Was this past week as stressful for you as it has been for us?
With the stress of the election and Covid cases rapidly increasing, 2020 is still taking its toll on us. In times like these it is helpful to count your blessings and seek simple joys.
One big one can be found right outside your door. Mother Nature!
Fall is in the air! The leaves are turning and the temperatures are cooling down.
Fall is a perfect time to get outside, enjoy being active in nearly perfect temperatures, and let the fresh air and natural beauty melt some of your stress away. It is easier on the body to be active outdoors when the temperatures are mild. We are between the uncomfortable heat of summer and the chill of winter, so it makes sense to take advantage of the weather and head outdoors, especially with COVID numbers on the increase – outside is one of the safest places to exercise.
Another important reason to be outside right now is the vitamin D factor. Here in NC it is close to impossible to get enough vitamin D from the sun between the months of October and March, regardless of how much time you spend outside.* But every little bit counts, so do your body a favor and give it a vitamin D boost by spending some time being active outdoors!
Other positive effects being in nature has on your physical wellbeing include reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
And here is the best part – beyond your physical health, a growing number of studies have shown that being in nature also reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings – just what we all need right now!
With so many reasons to get out there and get moving here are some fun and healthy activities that you can enjoy while taking advantage of the pleasant weather and beautiful scenery:
Rake leaves: This is a strenuous activity! It will get your heart rate up and give your upper body a serious workout if you go at it with gusto! Enlist the kids to help you, and rake and play in the leaves for an afternoon. You will be healthier and your yard will look great!
Tip: be sure to change your raking hands (right to lefty, lefty to righty) every 5 minutes to maintain balance through the body.
Pick apples: Another great family activity is apple picking. Few things say fall like a bountiful harvest. Apple orchards often have quaint gift stores and may even offer fresh apple cider and hayrides. Search online for an orchard near you and spend the day outdoors with your family and friends.
Caution: Just one glass of apple cider (lots of sugar!) and steer clear of the candied apples!
Take a walk: the best way to enjoy the brilliant colors of fall is to take a long walk. It’s a great way to see the beauty up close and personal. Places to walk include nearby parks, nature preserves, or hiking trails at a lake.
Even more fun: Bring your pup! They love to explore the outdoors too, and their excitement will bring you more joy.
Ride bikes and get involved in other sports: The cooler temperatures are invigorating. This is a great time to pick up some new fun activities or resurrect some activities that you might have neglected for a while. Bike riding can a blast! Grab your family and take a spin or head to the tennis courts (naturally a socially distanced sport)!
Visit farmers’ markets: It’s harvest time for many fall foods like greens, root veggies and squash, so head out to your local farmers’ markets for some fresh and healthy selections. If you find a great deal on bulk items, consider bringing it home and putting it in the freezer for later.
Caution: Just because it came from a farmer’s market, doesn’t mean it’s organic…