Column: Turning over a new leaf

Date Published: 
Dec. 2, 2016

Brisk nights, red and orange leaves scattered over the lawn, and pumpkin-flavored everything; cooler weather is definitely here. With all the seasonal changes, it only makes sense to make some changes about your health. It’s time to whip out the sweatshirts and scarves and handle the holidays like a pro.

One of my favorite things about autumn is the seasonal superfood: pumpkin, and, no, I am not referring to that pumpkin-spiced latte from Starbucks.

Pumpkins not only boast 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per cup (canned), but are loaded with vitamin K and beta-carotene. Let’s not forget about those seeds either. Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, but they are also a powerhouse of protein, minerals and antioxidants. Research shows that they can even help lower cholesterol. So if you have a pumpkin still hanging around, be sure to harvest those seeds before you send it to the compost.

The common cold — 3 million of us in the U.S. get it each year. It’s probably the worst thing starting in fall but also one of the easiest to combat. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Practice frequent handwashing and wipe down touched surfaces often. I’m sure there is pumpkin spice-scented soap out there somewhere.

Mindfulness in autumn is as easy as me making terrible puns for the fall season. What did one autumn leaf say to the other? “I’ve fallen for you.” But, seriously, mental health is just as important as physical health.

Fall is a great time to relax and de-stress. For one, all the summer traffic and visitors are gone, making a simple trip simple again. If you are like me, taking a moment to look out at all the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds is breathtaking. Kicking back with family and friends around a fire pit on a cool night is one of the most satisfying feelings. Making time for your sanity is crucial, and did someone say hot chocolate?

Exercise doesn’t always mean pumping iron in the gym or running a mini-marathon while secretly trying to outrun the person next to you on the treadmill. Sometimes exercise can mean just getting up and moving around!

It’s the perfect time of year for throwing the football around and attempting to be half-decent at Cape Henlopen’s Frisbee Golf course. Go for a hike, ride your bike down the trail, or go for a stroll through the woods. Just bundle up on the colder days!

While the world around you starts to slow down this fall and winter, don’t slow down yourself. Eat right, get moving and have fun!

Jake Murray is a Certified Special Populations Specialist and wellness coach at Beebe Healthcare. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Delaware, where he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, and joined the Beebe team in May of 2015 working in the Beebe Wellness Program. For more information on Beebe Wellness, a program of Beebe’s Physical Rehabilitation Services, go to https://www.beebehealthcare.org/beebe-wellness.