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Your Health Blog

    Autumn: A Time for Change

    Terry Gehlhausen, DO Family Medicine Deaconess Clinic Oakland City 10/12/2015

    The winds of autumn are upon us, and they have already blown away the heat and humidity of summer. September 23rd was the first day of autumn and it is time for a new season. Sweaters, scarves, caps, and gloves need to be found. It is also time to consider needed work around the house, garage, or attic. Check the chimney and wood burner, furnace filters, and fuel. It might be a good time to replace your car’s tires, check the battery and radiator fluid. Preparation now prevents problems later this winter.

    Now is also a very good time to evaluate and prepare your body for the new season. Assess your personal strengths and weaknesses. Make a renewed effort to improve. You must create your own plan, but here are several suggestions.

    Weigh Yourself
    How close is it to your ideal body weight? Adults weighing 10% less than their ideal weight have much greater risk of death than someone weighing 50% more than their ideal body weight. Many thin adults use too much sugar and may need extra protein supplementation. This is especially true for Pepsi and cookie fanatics. An overweight person might not need to lose pounds, but just inches by converting fat to muscle. Maybe all that is needed is more exercise. Eat more vegetables and fruits while they are still fresh and inexpensive. Try only eating and drinking calories three times a day to lose weight.

    Fall weather will quickly remind your joints that the cooler temperatures can mean stiffness and discomfort. Sometimes nothing works better than a hot bath and a good nights sleep for achy and stiff muscles and joints. This is particularly true in the morning and before strenuous exercise such as work  or  athletics.  Stretching can be done in 5 to 15 minutes. Loosen up after you get up, and you will feel better all day long.

    Exercise is easier during the autumn months, especially in southern Indiana. The first frost of the year seems to put a zip into everyone’s step. Lower temperatures and lower humidity make it easier to get out and exercise. Whether your idea for exercise is cleaning a fencerow, pumping iron, chasing quail and rabbits, or playing tennis or golf, doing these things in the fall of the year just feels better.

    Walking is certainly the easiest and cheapest of all forms of exercise. Walking for just 30 to 45 minutes, three to four times a week will give your heart a good aerobic workout, and you will be doing your body a great favor. Not only will your heart be strengthened, but so will your stamina, concentration, and sense of well-being. Stronger muscles mold stronger minds. Prevent the winter blues and flab by developing a program of exercise this autumn. Allow extra time for sleep after a hard day of cool autumn exercise.

    Kick the Habit. Most bad habits are easier to quit outside. Things like eating snacks, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol or soft drinks can be slowly reduced by making yourself go outside to do them.

    Better Relationships. Make an effort to establish a better relationship with your spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins, and in-laws. You have more in common with these people than anyone else in the world. Plan a family reunion or a special Thanksgiving gathering. Get together with your neighbors. Go to the next church function. Invite someone different over for dinner. Your health, happiness, and emotional stability are frequently related to your relationships with others.


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