Seasonal Health: Outdoor Activity, Halloween and Fall Recipes
In this Fox 8 House Call series, Cone Health experts discuss seasonal health topics, including:
Outdoor activities like raking leaves and yard work can be as strenuous as exercise. Even if you regularly exercise, you need to prepare your body for outdoor work with a good warm-up, just like before a workout. By taking a short walk and then stretching, you can get your muscles ready and help avoid injury.
It’s also important to set limits on how much you want to get done in a day. Instead of committing to finishing all of your projects in a day or over the weekend, spread out your activity over a longer period of time and take breaks to let your body rest. After 30 minutes of raking, rest, stretch and then move on to another activity that involves different movements. The strain of trying to do so much physical labor in one day, pushing your body past its normal limits, can lead to injury.
Proper body mechanics also play a huge role in preventing injury and pain while working out in the yard. There are several things you can do to avoid this, such as:
- While raking, think of the rake-like your dance partner. You want to keep the rake close to your body and move with it rather than reaching far away. Step with the tool instead of keeping your feet stationary and switch sides to avoid an over-use injury.
- Instead of moving a pile of leaves scoop by scoop, rake them onto a sheet and move them all at once, simply dragging the loaded sheet to the curb.
- When carrying heavy objects, lift with your legs, not your back.
- If an object is too heavy, ask a friend for help instead of trying to lift it on your own.
The exceptional team of physical therapists and related health care providers at Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers are dedicated to educating individuals in the community about the importance of proper body mechanics to avoid an accident or injury.
Donna Salisbury, PT, CLT, is a physical therapist at Cone Health Outpatient Cancer Rehabilitation Center.
Healthy and Safe Halloween
Halloween is a holiday that kids look forward to all year. It serves as a chance to get creative with costumes, decorate the house, carve pumpkins and most importantly, trick-or-treat. When your child is picking out a costume, make sure to pick the right size and use nontoxic face paints instead of masks. Costumes that are too long in the front can create a tripping hazard and masks can obstruct a child’s vision.
To help make this Halloween a fun and safe holiday, go over basic safety protocols with your children beforehand, such as:
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without an older child or adult supervision.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- Carry glow sticks, lanterns or flashlights to help you see and be seen by drivers.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don't run, across the street.
Drivers should be extra careful on Halloween night since, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Drive slowly and be alert as you drive through neighborhoods where children could be. Avoid using your phone or any other distractions while driving and pay close attention when turning into or backing out of driveways.
Leigha Jordan is the injury prevention coordinator for the trauma department at Cone Health.
Healthy Fall Recipes
Summer is often thought of as the season for fresh fruit and vegetables, but fall has its fair share of seasonal produce. Pumpkin is by far the most popular vegetable and flavor during the fall season, but there are so many other delicious fruits and vegetables to choose from. Apples, pears, winter squash, leafy greens, cranberries and beets all ripen in autumn and are full of nutrients. Produce that is in season is available at your local farmer’s market, which can be more cost-effective.
Many of the seasonal options are delicious and full of vitamins and nutrients that can reduce your risk for a variety of illnesses. Leafy greens like collard greens and turnip greens are heart healthy and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron and magnesium. They’re also low in calories but filling.
This season, consider incorporating a few of your seasonal favorites into everyday recipes. If you make a vegetable soup or stew in cold weather, you can add kale or squash for an extra boost of flavor. Other new recipes that are healthy but include a taste of fall are:
- Sautéed collard greens.
- Chicken, apple and butternut squash stew.
- Apple-stuffed acorn squash.
- Winter squash and kale risotto.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of registered dietitians dedicated to helping patients develop and maintain healthy, balanced diets that work for them and fit into their lifestyles.
Pam Ingram, RD, is a registered dietitian with Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Education Services at Alamance Regional Medical Center.