Top Healthy Reasons to Love Fall

Autumn is a great time to focus on your physical and mental well-being.

fall, running, jogging, trees, outside, outdoors

Updated on October 6, 2023.

Apple picking, corn mazes, cooler temperatures, piles of colorful leaves—fall is a magical time. This year, you might feel inspired to adopt healthy habits like exercising and eating a nutritious, well-rounded diet. Fortunately, autumn eats and activities are often good for your physical and mental health. Here are three ways you can enjoy the season while also boosting your well-being.

Cool, crisp weather is great for outdoor exercise

Tired of heading outside for a run only to cut it short because of the heat? The lower temperatures of autumn make for more enjoyable outdoor workouts. Whether you run, do yoga, or recently got into high-intensity training, grab your gear and head into the open air. In addition to the benefits of your specific workout, enjoying your fitness outdoors—aka “green exercise”—can also:

  • Improve your mood
  • Lower your risk of depression
  • Boost your self-esteem

Why? One theory is that connecting with nature can help us appreciate our bodies and what they do, boosting self-confidence as a result.

Exercising outdoors is inexpensive and accessible. Popular choices include biking, walking, running, and sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, and football. You can also bring almost any type of custom workout routine to your deck, yard, or local park. Just make sure you have a steady and safe surface to perform the moves.

Not ready to commit to full outdoor workout sessions? No problem. You can still reap benefits by taking a 15-minute stroll around the neighborhood or working in the garden.

Fall colors may boost your mood

Different people respond to colors in different ways, depending on culture, mood, and many other factors. For many, the brilliant colors of fall—the rich reds, vibrant oranges, and warm yellows—do more than delight the senses. The colors you notice when the leaves begin to change may have some mental health benefits, too.

The color yellow is often thought to convey energy, enthusiasm, fun, cheerfulness, and a positive emotional state. Red may help improve your attention span and boost your confidence. And it’s possible that fall foliage and cool temps may bring about happy memories.

Take time to step outside and enjoy the beauty that autumn has to offer. Go for a walk, take a drive to see the leaves change, or simply visit your local park for some outdoor time. You could also fill your home with fresh fall flowers—such as chrysanthemums (mums) and dahlias—or decorate with the warm, cozy hues of fall.

In-season fruits and veggies are in abundance

Your favorite summer produce picks, like strawberries and zucchini, may be pricier or harder to come by in October. But that makes way for fresh, nutrient-packed fall fruits and veggies. Savor the flavors of fall and add these seasonal choices to your grocery list:

  • Pumpkin: Loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C, eating pumpkin can help regulate digestion, boost your immune system, and support eye health.
  • Sweet potatoes: Orange-hued sweet potatoes are high in fiber and antioxidants, which are compounds that help prevent or slow cell damage.
  • Apples: A good source of fiber and vitamin C, apples can help regulate blood sugar levels and bowel health, and keep you feeling fuller, longer.
  • Butternut squash: Filled with fiber, vitamin A, folate, and antioxidants, this gourd may help reduce inflammation and support heart health.

If you’re not sure how to cook with autumn produce, try these simple preparations:

  • To make an easy fall side dish, mix cubed roasted butternut squash with sweet potatoes. Lightly brush the cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and ground sage. Then, bake in an oven set to 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • For a sweet fall breakfast, add a spoonful or two of canned pumpkin to your oatmeal each morning, then top with thinly sliced apples.

Still not inspired by a fall harvest? Plan a trip to your local farmer’s market. Vendors can share tips on how to select and prepare your bounty.

You can focus on your health again

While summer is great for being active outdoors, the irregular rhythms of the season sometimes throw off your usual health routine. (Think road trips, kids’ camps, and weekend BBQs that wend their way into the wee hours.) But now that fall is here, with its built-in work and school schedules, you can get back on track with your healthy habits.

Use the season to reboot your routine—or start a new one:

  1. Wake up right when your alarm goes off. Open the blinds for sunlight or get a breath of fresh air with a quick walk or jog.
  2. Pack your lunch the night before. Prep your breakfast, too. Setting the coffee pot, making overnight oats, or laying out your ingredients can make mornings a breeze. And start tracking how well you’re eating, too. Use Sharecare, a free app for iOS and Android, to record your meals.
  3. Schedule a daily workout. Put it on your calendar for a reminder.
  4. Power down before bed. Turn off cell phones, tablets, and TVs an hour before bed. Drawing a warm, relaxing bath with Epsom salt to relieve tired muscles, and try reading a book, rather than scrolling through social media.
  5. Track your sleep. By doing so, you’ll notice patterns and detect potential sleep issues you’ll want to address. Use Sharecare to get started.

Fall is the perfect time to make specific tweaks that can help you take control of your health. Whether it’s settling into new routines or simply taking time to focus on yourself, now’s the time to take advantage of all that fall has to offer.

Article sources open article sources

Kelsey Graham. Get Out! 5 Benefits of Outdoor Exercise. American Council on Exercise. March 27, 2017.
Mental Health America. How do colors in my home change my mood? Color psychology explained. Accessed October 6, 2023.
Color Psychology. Yellow Color Psychology, Symbolism and Meaning. Accessed October 6, 2023.
USDA. Food Data Central. Accessed October 6, 2023.
Cleveland Clinic. The Health Benefits of Pumpkin. June 6, 2022.
Cleveland Clinic. Everything You Should Know About the Benefits of Squash. March 21, 2023.
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Sweet Potatoes. Accessed October 6, 2023.
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Apples. Accessed October 6, 2023.
MedlinePlus. Antioxidants. Last updated December 26, 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Sleep Disorders: Tips for Better Sleep. Last reviewed September 13, 2022.

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