Fall is the year's version of middle age. So we totally identify! Here are five habits that we think every midlifer should take up this fall.
Using sunscreen should be a four-season event, not something relegated to beaches in the summer. It's as easy to get sunburned in the winter as it is in summer, says the Mayo Clinic. Snow reflects the sun's rays, so sunburn is possible even if you're cold. When you're outdoors, wear sunscreen on any exposed areas. Lip balm with UV protection too!
The American Cancer Society says that most skin cancers are a direct result of exposure to the UV rays in sunlight. Both basal cell and squamous cell cancers (the most common types of skin cancer) are generally found on sun-exposed parts of the body. So don't let your guard down when it comes to sun protection just because we're beyond Labor Day.
When we're hot in the summer, nothing looks better than a frosty glass of cold water. Come November, not so much. But your body's need for water doesn't evaporate with the flip of a calendar page.
While the debate about how much water we should drink every day is ongoing, no one is arguing the value that water has for our bodies. It helps maintain the balance of body fluids and our body temperature. Water helps keep our skin looking good and flushes impurities from our kidneys. We lose more fluids when we sweat in the summer, but sweat also occurs during exercise and we hope you don't stop exercising at summer's end either. WebMD says that older people have a diminished sense of thirst which can put them at risk of dehydration.
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
The summer gives us the ability to be outdoors more. Sure it's great to take an early morning run or ride your bike for miles. But just because the fall days are shorter and the temperatures cooler doesn't mean we should stop exercising. Fall hikes are magnificent and frequently free of the mosquitoes that bug us in the spring and summer. Bike rides are still an option; just layer your clothes and adjust as needed. And there is a plethora of fun gym classes making the rounds. Cycling, boot camp, barre, CrossFit and dozens of other workout-specific studios have cropped up, so pick your pleasure.
Eat what's in season.
OK, so the sweet corn, strawberries and all those wonderful summer fruits may be disappearing from your grocery shelves, but fresh fall produce is starting to make a showing. How about that spaghetti squash? Making bad food choices just because you can't grab a nectarine or peach on your way out the door is foolish.
Among our favorite super-foods for fall: apples and pears, brussels sprouts, parsnips, cauliflower, and rutabaga.
And while we're at it: Got a plan for the safe disposal of all that Halloween candy your kids will bring home?
Apply skin moisturizer.
Indoor heating may not be Public Enemy No. 1 of beautiful skin, but it's a close cousin. Indoor heat dries out your skin, so it's important to keep it nourished with moisturizer. The real culprit though is winter itself. WebMd says that in winter, the colder outside air carries very little moisture. It's why winter days don't ever feel humid. But moisture still evaporates from your body, leaving your skin and throat parched.
So in fall, get ready: Buy a humidifier and start using it. Be mindful that taking hot showers can worsen dry, itchy skin. Showers remove the natural layer of oil that preserves and protects the skin's moisture, says WebMd.