Weekend Poll: What Are You Most Looking Forward To This Fall?
Who doesn't love fall? The leaves are changing, pumpkins are suddenly everywhere and there's no shortage of excuses to get outside and enjoy that perfectly crisp, autumn air before winter comes and forces us all indoors.
This weekend, we want to know: what's your favorite thing about this glorious season? Vote in our poll below and discuss your plans for fall 2012 in the comments!
Pencil it in.
Actually, go ahead and use a pen! For most, autumn brings a more regular schedule. School, normal work hours and organized sports and lessons all amount to busy but more predictable days. Look at your calendar and fill in blocks of time for exercise, whether that's a yoga class, a brisk walk, or time at the gym. Putting it on the calendar makes it more likely to happen.
Rock the market.
Chances are, your trips to the market will become more regular now that summer vacations are over and you're settling back into a routine. Sketch out a meal plan for the week and make a shopping list. You're more likely to cook healthy dinners if both the fridge and freezer (don't forget the frozen vegetables) are stocked with healthy ingredients. And don't forget the farmers' markets in your area, which are at their most bountiful at this time of year.
Be an early bird.
Our sleep habits tend to become more reasonable as the days start to shorten. Take advantage of an earlier bedtime by waking with the birds for some exercise outdoors and quiet "me-time." The weather is still spectacular and you'll be happy to have soaked up some cool fresh air before most people are even out of bed.
Give your car a rest.
Take a look at your activities and see if there is anywhere you could possibly walk, skate, scooter or bike to. Leave a little extra time and enjoy the knowledge that you're getting there on your own steam, burning calories and saving gas.
Keep making those summer salads.
Salads are a great way to keep cool in the kitchen during those sultry summer months, but there's no need to stop. Keep making those <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/black-beans-and-greens/935b8201-6137-4a5f-9bb1-02244b6337e7?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">great salads for lunch and dinner</a>, but simply incorporate all those delicious fall ingredients coming to market. Late-season <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-101/ingredients/tomatoes?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">tomatoes</a>, <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-101/ingredients/squash?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">squash</a>, <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-101/ingredients/apples?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">apples</a>, <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-101/ingredients/pears?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">pears</a> and <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-101/ingredients/beets?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">beets</a> all taste delicious this time of year.
Be a leaf peeper.
Fall is one of the best seasons to go for hikes. The weather is cool, the mosquitos are gone, wildlife is active and the leaves are starting to change colors. For a healthy and fun way to spend a day or just a couple hours, get out there and enjoy nature as much as possible before winter comes.
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...
Just because summer is over, it doesn't mean you should put away your swimsuit. Lakes and oceans will be swimmable for another month at least. If you have access to a pool at your gym, use it! Swimming is a tremendous low-impact cardio workout. Even treading water while chatting with a friend will get your heart pumping.
Plan for better snacking.
With a more regular schedule, you might be able to better prepare for <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/healthy-living/food/snacking/articles/fight-a-snack-attack-with-100-calorie-snack-packs?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">eating on the run</a>. Take some time to make or buy foods that will help satisfy your hunger and nourish your body. And, check out these simple tips on <a href="http://livebetteramerica.aol.com/2012/08/02/breakfast-recipes-quick-live-better_n_1671233.html" target="_hplink">how to make time to eat breakfast</a> every morning.
Work out in your yard.
Mulching, raking leaves, edging and pruning is great exercise and has to be done before winter comes anyway. Instead of paying someone to do it or pawning it off on your spouse or kids, <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/healthy-living/health/fitness/articles/garden-your-way-fit?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">get out there and do it yourself</a>. Your yard will look fantastic and you'll burn tons of calories. Go ahead and plant some bulbs, too, for a pretty surprise next spring.
Learn something new.
Why should kids be the only ones learning new things every school year? Take up a new sport or activity and have fun working hard to master it. Have a go at fencing, snowboarding, tap dancing or tennis to push you out of your comfort zone and spice up your exercise routine.