Fall is here and winter's just around the corner, but that doesn't mean you can't be as healthy and happy as you are in the summer months. A lot of the habits we maintain during the summer—spending time outdoors, drinking a lot of water, etc.—are actually habits we need to keep up throughout the year. Here are the healthy summer habits you shouldn't leave behind this season.
Think you don't need sunscreen unless you're spending the day at the beach or the park? Think again. Even when it's cold and cloudy, you still face exposure to UVA rays when you go outside, which can contribute to wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer. And you're not safe when it's snowing out, either—you know how water reflects the sun back at you when you go in the pool or to the beach? Snow (and even concrete) can have the same effect. The best way to protect yourself is to wear sunscreen year-round on any body parts that are exposed to the outside (that includes through windows) and reapply throughout the day.
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Summer's Over, But You Still Need Sunscreen
Much like you need sunscreen year-round to protect your skin from damage, you shouldn't ditch your sunglasses just because the temperature's dropping. Those UVA rays—again, snow can reflect them back up at you—that contribute to your risk of skin cancer also can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other serious eye conditions. Plus, you can't easily apply sunscreen to the delicate skin around your eyes, so sunglasses can help protect your eye area in that way, too.
Go Outside on Breaks
When you're at work in the summertime, you can't wait to get out during your lunch break to soak up some sun and fresh air, but that all changes as soon as it gets cold out. You're not alone in wanting to hibernate and hide inside as soon as the temperature drops, but going outside is still good for you year-round. You don't have to go eat your lunch outside or be out in the cold for extended periods of time—no one wants that—but taking a brisk mid-day walk around the block to break up the day or to get a coffee can help.
Along the same lines, the cold weather hibernation mode we all seem to go into after summer's over means it's easy to just stay in bed—especially when it starts to get dark out earlier and stay that way until later in the mornings—instead of maintaining our usual level of activity from the summer. Try to push yourself to get up and continue your normal exercise routines. If you usually work out or do activities outdoors, join a gym that feels like a good fit for you, or find alternatives you enjoy just as much that you can do inside so the cold doesn't stop you.
A lot of summer staples—think corn on the cob, watermelon, tomatoes, etc.—are fruits and vegetables, and other foods we don't necessarily eat throughout the year. Come fall and winter, many of those same foods we love during the warmer weather are no longer in season, and it feels like there are fewer options for us. It's not that those summer foods are "healthier" than others (besides, assigning moral values like that to foods can contribute to dangerous relationships with eating and body image), rather, it's about eating with variety, and the change in seasons doesn't have to dictate whether or not you get that. You can keep incorporating that variety into your meals after summer's over by using frozen fresh produce and looking for foods that are in season in the fall. At the end of the day, it's all a matter of doing what works best for you.
Take Care of Plants
Having plants around your home or on your desk can definitely make your surroundings feel more fresh, bright and alive and studies show that having plants around can actually make you more productive and boost your morale. But fall and winter aren't the easiest seasons to take care of plants — cold temperatures and less light don't exactly help your plants thrive. Make it a point to take extra good care of your plants during the colder months, or get plants that thrive in low light and other fall and winter conditions.
The heat of the summer months makes it hard not to stay on top of your water intake, but you shouldn't cut back on drinking water when the weather cools down. Just because you don't feel as thirsty as you do when you're outside sweating doesn't mean you can't still get dehydrated in the autumn and winter — and according to CNN, the cold season may make it even harder to notice when you are. For example, in dryer conditions (like the crisp air we love so much in fall and winter) sweat can actually turn directly into vapor without even forming on your skin. You need all the hydration you can get to keep your organs functioning properly, so don't neglect your water intake come fall.