Reasons to Embrace the Health Benefits of Fall

If you’re a pumpkin spice lover, chances are you’ve already slurped a autumn-spiced latte or two. However, autumn offers a literal bounty of healthy activities to burn off those pumpkin flavored coffees, baked goods, and pumpkin beers. Look to the healthy side of the fall season…

1. Establish Health Routine

Many use fall as a season to re-establish (or establish new) healthy routines. Many emerge from a summer vacation of too much eating, drinking, and travelling, returning to the set routine of work or school.

The good news is that numerous studies show that routine sets a rhythm to the day that is good for our health. For example, we tend to return to healthy, regular meals and healthy sleep schedules.

2. Fall Back for Daylight Savings

As the temperatures cool down in mid- to late autumn, the temptation to go to sleep earlier, and for longer, effects many of us.

Don’t resist the call of sleep, it does a body good. According to Harvard Medical School research, daylight savings time (in November) has a positive effect on our cardiovascular health. In fact, the research notes rates of traffic accidents and heart attacks both decreased after the fall time adjustment.

3. Changing Autumn Colors Improve Mood

Autumn is arguably the most beautiful season. As the leaves change color, from green to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, I’m wowed by the outdoor scenery.

Washington, D.C.-based board certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and Integrative and Holistic physician, Regina Zopf, explains that as we take in the transitioning fall beauty, the relaxation and “good mood” area in the brain (the medial orbitofrontal cortex) is triggered.

4. Fall-Colored Superfoods

Take in the vivid oranges, yellows, browns, and reds at your local farmer’s market this weekend, where you’ll set your sights and appetite on a bounty of in season apples, squash, pumpkin, pears, and sweet potatoes.

In addition to their outer beauty, autumn produce, such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamin E, and low in calories.

5. We Spend More Time Outside

With the dog days of summer long gone, the cooler temperatures of autumn beckon us to spend more time outdoors, away from screens (i.e., video games, television, computer).

In fact, spending time in the fresh, crisp, fall air has a positive impact on our mental health. Take it from a University of Michigan study that linked group nature hikes to higher positivity and less stress.

6. Fall for Outdoor Activities

During autumn, the sun is still shining, but there’s often a slight crispness to the air that makes it the perfect time of year to enjoy outdoor activities.

I like to start running again in fall, but many take advantage of outdoor romps to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard for fruit picking. According to Yahoo Shine research, a few hours of apple-picking can burn roughly 300 calories.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.