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Autumn: Time to fall into activity

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By Heidi Hutchison, DO, Fisher Road Family Practice

There’s no bad time to incorporate more activity into your routine, but autumn is its own occasion to consider incorporating more movement into your life.

Numerous studies show that the more we sit and the less we move, the sicker we are. On the flip side, there are many studies that show that any amount of exercise is better than none, and that moving is associated with better health.

A September 2017 international study of 130,000 healthy men and women aged 35 to 70 from urban and rural areas of 17 countries indicates that any kind of regular physical activity can lengthen your life.

Why is autumn a great time to get started? Here are four reasons:

1. We engage in more screen time. Screen time doesn’t have to be sedentary time. If you can invest in an hour of viewing movies or TV shows, why not use at least 20 minutes of that time to take care of yourself each day? Use resistance bands or light weights and do some stretching.

2. The holidays are coming! The holidays often lead to overeating and consuming less-than-healthy foods we wouldn’t normally eat. The earlier in the fall you can get into a routine of being more active, the more likely this healthy habit will stick with you as you consume more calories.

3. Most dogs like cooler weather. If you are a dog lover and you can’t motivate yourself to move, do it for Fido. Your pup can keep you on track for a daily walk with a wagging tail and soulful eyes. Plus, estimates show that one out of three pets in the U.S. is obese.

If you’re not a dog person, find a human buddy who wants to move more and motivate each other. People who team up tend to be more successful when it comes to staying committed to their goals.

4. Cooler temperatures mean fewer bugs and colorful leaves. Those of us in Central Pennsylvania are lucky to enjoy the benefits and beauty of distinct seasons. In fall, conditions are usually ideal for a walk in the park, and we are fortunate to have many to choose from. Almost every community has a park nearby that offers easy walks.

For those who are feeling more adventurous, there are great hiking opportunities to be found in state parks throughout the region. If you’re not a winter walker, transition to walking indoors at a shopping mall or gym when it’s cold.

Moving has been shown to lengthen life and improve health. Maybe you dance, walk, bike, jog or do strength training. No matter how you decide to move, doing it regularly can give you more energy and help improve your health. Increasing the amount of time that you engage in some physical activity each day has even more benefits.

No matter how you move, there’s no better time than the present to get started.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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