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The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are cooling down, signaling the arrival of fall. As the season changes, Houstonians can prepare to enjoy a healthy season with the following tips that cover both physical and mental health.

From the great outdoors to the home, there are plenty of activities and resources to keep Houstonians healthy this fall. From outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and running to more leisurely pursuits such as reading and yoga, Houston’s parks and recreation areas provide something for everyone. Additionally, the city’s libraries offer a wealth of knowledge and resources to support physical and mental health. Furthermore, Houston’s health food stores and farmers markets provide an array of delicious fresh produce that can easily be incorporated into meals or snacks.

Make Healthy Food Choices

Houston’s Guide to making healthy food choices involves eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting sugary foods and drinks, eating whole grains, and eating mindfully. One great way to start is by shopping at local farmers’ markets. This allows for fresher produce and a better selection of quality fruits and vegetables. Additionally, buying from local farmers helps support the community. Eating mindfully is also a key factor in making healthy choices. This involves being aware of what you are eating, how you are eating it, and how it makes you feel afterwards. Eating whole grains and limiting sugary foods and drinks is also important for maintaining a healthy diet.

1 . Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets

Shopping at local farmers’ markets not only helps you make healthier food choices, but can also be a fun and rewarding experience! Houston’s guide to healthy eating encourages residents to shop at farmers’ markets for a variety of fresh, locally sourced produce, meats, and more. Not only will you have access to a wide variety of fresh ingredients, but you’ll also be supporting local farmers and their families in the process.

Making the switch to local products doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Start by visiting one of Houston’s many farmers’ markets. You’ll find rows of fresh fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny cherry tomatoes to enormous pumpkins. You can also find locally sourced meats, cheeses, and other specialty items like honey, jams, and pickles. 

Take the time to chat with the farmers at the market, as they can provide helpful advice on how to use the ingredients in your cooking. You may even discover some new recipes or cooking techniques.

2 . Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

With the abundance of flavorful fruits and vegetables available in Houston’s Guide, it’s no wonder why introducing them to your diet is an easy way to lead a healthier lifestyle. Eating more fruits and vegetables not only provides essential vitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin, hair, and bones, but they also contain dietary fiber that helps us feel fuller for longer and can help with weight management. 

Whether you opt for the juicy sweetness of locally-grown strawberries or the earthiness of regionally-sourced beets, adding a variety of fresh produce to your plate is a great way to support the local farming community and reap the benefits of a nutrient-dense diet. Plus, fruits and vegetables can be added to many meals and snacks! Try topping a salad with crunchy bell peppers or adding a few slices of apples to your breakfast oatmeal. 

There are endless possibilities when it comes to eating more fruits and vegetables. Get creative in the kitchen and make sure to take advantage of Houston’s Guide to find the freshest produce around.

3 . Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks

Houston’s Guide to Healthy Eating encourages limiting sugary foods and drinks. Sugary beverages and foods are high in calories and low in nutrition, making them a bad choice for overall health. Even natural sources of sugar, such as honey, syrup, and fruit juice, should be limited. Sodas and other sweetened drinks should be avoided altogether as they contain high amounts of sugar.

Eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, which can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Eating too much sugar can also lead to dental decay. In fact, tooth decay has been linked to consuming too much sugar.

It’s best to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense and naturally low in sugar. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and healthy fats from sources such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, wild-caught fish, and lean proteins are also good choices.

Get Active

Houston’s Guide to getting active and healthy includes taking advantage of outdoor activities, joining a fitness class, going for a walk or run, and bike riding. The great outdoors provides a variety of activities to choose from; from kayaking around the bayous to rock climbing in the parks. Joining a fitness class provides an opportunity to stay in shape with the guidance of a qualified instructor. Going for a walk or run through the city’s parks, along the beach, or around the neighborhood can be a great way to get some exercise without feeling like a workout. Bike riding is another great way to explore Houston and get some exercise.

1 . Take Advantage of Outdoor Activities

After making healthy food choices, it’s time to get active! Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living encourages individuals to take advantage of outdoor activities to promote physical and mental health. From visiting a nearby park to simply taking a walk around the block, getting outside is a great way to get your body moving.

Take a deep breath of fresh air and soak up the sun while appreciating Houston’s natural beauty. Enjoy the feeling of the grass under your feet and the sun on your face. Take a leisurely stroll or a brisk jog around the park, admiring the trees and wildlife.

If you’re looking for something more structured, there are plenty of opportunities to join a fitness class. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, there are classes for all levels and interests. There are classes that focus on cardio, strength, and agility. Or try something new like Zumba or yoga.

If biking is more your style, Houston offers hundreds of miles of trails and paths perfect for any level of rider.

2 . Join a Fitness Class

Now that you’ve made mindful food choices for a healthier lifestyle, it’s time to get active! Joining a fitness class is a great way to improve your health and stay motivated. Houston’s Guide offers a wide range of classes for all fitness levels, from yoga and Pilates to strength training and dance. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, you can find something to fit your needs.

The classes are taught by certified trainers who provide up-to-date information on the latest healthy fitness trends. You can always count on them for guidance and support to help you reach your goals. All classes are tailored to your individual needs and goals, so you can stay motivated and on track.

No matter your age or fitness level, the classes offer something for everyone. You can take advantage of the open gym and use the latest equipment and machines to tone and strengthen your muscles. The classes are designed to be fun and interactive, and you can take part in group activities to help you stay focused and motivated.

3 . Go for a Walk or Run

Taking healthy steps towards a better lifestyle does not have to be difficult. Houston’s Guide offers many opportunities to get active and take advantage of the city’s great outdoors. One of the best ways to stay active is to take a walk or go for a run. 

Exploring the natural trails in the area can be an ideal way to unwind, get some exercise, and enjoy nature. Houston has numerous parks and trails that offer breathtaking views and plenty of places to exercise. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, you can find a trail that is perfect for you. 

Running or jogging is a great way to stay in shape. If you are just starting out, it is important to take it slow and start with a short distance. As you become more comfortable, you can slowly increase your pace and distance. It is also important to wear the right kind of shoes to help with cushioning and support your feet.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Houston’s Guide to taking care of your mental health starts with getting enough sleep. A good night’s rest helps the body to recharge and refresh, allowing for a productive and focused day ahead. Practicing mindfulness can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Connecting with friends and family can give an emotional boost and provide a sense of community. Eating a balanced diet with foods rich in nutrients is essential to feeling energized and alert. Finally, getting regular exercise helps to increase endorphins, which can improve your mood and overall mental health.

1 . Get Enough Sleep

With physical activity being an important factor to maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep is just as crucial. Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep as it helps to reduce stress and improve overall physical and mental health. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep is important for overall well-being and can help to keep your body and mind in top shape. 

When trying to get enough sleep, it’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule and to create a relaxing environment for sleep. Taking a warm bath or shower before bed can help to relax your body while reading a book or listening to calming music can help to relax your mind. Additionally, avoiding stimulants, such as caffeine, late in the day can help to ensure that your body is relaxed and ready for sleep. 

Overall, getting enough sleep is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It helps to reduce stress, improve overall physical and mental health, and will help you to feel energized and ready to take on the day.

2 . Practice Mindfulness

Now that you’ve found ways to stay active in Houston’s Guide to Staying Healthy, it’s time to focus on taking care of your mental health. One of the most important aspects of mental health is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgement. Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. 

The good news is that mindfulness can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any special equipment. You can practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath and noticing how your body feels. You can also try to focus on the sights, smells, and sounds around you. Another way to practice mindfulness is to engage in activities like yoga or Tai Chi. These activities can help to center your mind and relax your body. 

You don’t have to be an expert to practice mindfulness. Just start small by taking a few moments each day to focus on the present.

3 . Connect with Friends and Family

After working up a sweat and taking care of your physical health, it’s also important to take time to nurture your mental health. One of the best ways to do this is to connect with friends and family. According to Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living, staying in contact with loved ones is essential to promoting good mental health.

Being able to talk to friends and family can help you process difficult emotions and allow you to gain perspective on any problems you’re facing. Whether it’s through FaceTime, phone calls, or socially distanced outings, it’s important to stay connected with people who understand and care about you.

Making an effort to go out and do things with friends is also important. Whether it’s grabbing a meal, going to the movies, or even just taking a walk around the block, spending quality time with friends can help reduce stress and lift your mood.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the people you spend time with.

Visit a Health Center

Houston’s Guide to finding the right health center for you is essential to ensure the best possible care for yourself and your loved ones. With the ever-increasing demand for health services, it is important to take advantage of the affordable care available. Researching and learning about preventive health services can help you choose the best health center for your needs. Scheduling an appointment and understanding the safety protocols of the facility is also important to ensure a safe and successful visit. With a little research and planning, Houstonians can have a successful visit to a health center.

1 . Find the Right Health Center for You

Houston’s Guide to finding the right health center for you can be an overwhelming task. With a plethora of options to choose from, it’s important to understand the different types of facilities available and the services they provide. Consider the size of the health center, as well as the staff size and the patient load. Additionally, inquire about the staff’s qualifications and the range of services they offer, including preventive health services, such as immunizations, health screenings, and mental health services. Once you’ve found the right health center for you, you can take advantage of affordable care options, such as sliding-scale fees or discounted rates. 

When making an appointment, make sure to inquire about the health center’s safety protocols to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. Ask about the procedures they have in place to prevent the spread of diseases and ask any other questions that you may have. 

Ultimately, finding the right health center for you is a personal decision and requires research.

2 . Take Advantage of Affordable Care

Visiting a health center can be a great way to take advantage of affordable care. Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living provides a wealth of resources and information to help you find the right health center for you. From community health clinics to private practices, there are a range of options available to provide you with quality care that is within your budget.

When selecting a health center, investigate what type of care is available and the cost of services. Checking the credentials of the health center and its staff is also essential, as is researching any reviews or ratings. Once you have identified the best option for you, take the time to find out what types of services they offer. Many health centers offer preventive health services such as vaccinations, screenings, and health assessments. 

Scheduling an appointment can be a simple process, especially if you take advantage of online booking options. Many health centers also have safety protocols in place to protect both patients and providers from the spread of infections.

3 . Learn About Preventive Health Services

As you look into visiting a health center, it is important to understand the range of preventive health services available. Houston’s Guide to preventive health services is a great resource to get started. From routine checkups to immunizations, health centers provide a variety of services that can help you stay healthy. They can detect and diagnose illnesses, injuries, or other health-related issues before they become serious health problems. Preventive health services are especially important for those with chronic health conditions, who may need additional screenings, medications, and lifestyle advice to manage their conditions. Health centers can also provide referrals to specialists if needed. It is important to visit a health center regularly to get the preventive services you need to stay healthy.

Stay Hydrated

Houston’s Guide to Staying Hydrated encourages everyone to drink plenty of water. Water helps keep us energized and motivated, and helps our bodies function properly. Limiting sugary beverages can help reduce sugar intake, and choosing healthier drinks such as herbal tea, seltzer water, or orange juice can add flavor without the extra calories. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, so be sure to drink a glass of water before meals, during physical activities, and when you’re feeling thirsty. Rehydrating after an illness is also essential, so drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes to help fight dehydration.

1 . Drink Plenty of Water

In addition to visiting a health center for check-ups and advice, Houston’s Guide recommends also staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is essential for staying healthy and feeling energized. Water is essential for many bodily functions, from carrying oxygen to cells to lubricating the joints. Ideally, adults should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Staying hydrated also helps to maintain a healthy balance of electrolyte levels. Not only can water help to flush out toxins and prevent dehydration, but water can also help to support weight loss goals and improve diet quality. To stay hydrated, Houston’s Guide suggests drinking water throughout the day, either from a reusable water bottle or from the tap. Instead of sugary beverages, choose healthy and hydrating drinks, such as herbal teas, fresh juices, and smoothies. Also, be mindful of when to drink water. For instance, drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can help to kickstart your day.

2 . Limit Sugary Beverages

Staying hydrated is an important part of overall health and well-being. Drinking plenty of water and limiting sugary beverages are key components of staying hydrated. According to Houston’s Guide, sugary beverages provide extra calories without essential nutrients, and can lead to weight gain and other health issues. To limit sugary beverages, try swapping them out for healthier options like water, unsweetened tea, or low-fat milk.

Water is essential for a healthy lifestyle and it’s a great way to stay hydrated. It’s recommended to drink 8 glasses of water each day. If you’re feeling thirsty, grab a glass of water. When drinking water, it’s important to listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty. If you’re not feeling thirsty, it’s okay to wait before drinking more.

Another way to limit sugary beverages is to choose healthy options when drinking.

3 . Choose Healthy Beverages

Staying hydrated is a crucial part of staying healthy, and choosing healthy beverages can help you maintain your hydration levels. Houston’s Guide recommends that people drink plenty of water, limit sugary beverages, and choose healthy beverages to stay hydrated. One of the best healthy beverages to drink is water, as it is calorie-free and helps the body function properly. Other healthy beverages to choose include low-fat milk, unsweetened tea or coffee, and 100 percent juice.

For those looking to limit their sugar intake, they should make sure to avoid sugary beverages and opt for drinks with artificial sweeteners such as diet soda. If you’re looking for something with more flavor, try infusing your water with flavors like lemon, grapefruit, or cucumber. You can also find low-sugar options like sugar-free tea, seltzer water, and flavored water. Lastly, if you are looking for a healthier alternative to coffee or tea, try adding a splash of milk or a teaspoon of honey to your drink.

Get Vaccinated

When it comes to staying healthy, Houston’s Guide is a valuable resource for vaccine information. Vaccines help protect against a variety of diseases, including the flu, pneumonia, and shingles. To ensure maximum protection, it’s important to know which vaccines are needed and when. 

Flu Vaccination is a recommended annual vaccine, best taken before the cold weather months. Pneumonia Vaccination is recommended for those over 65 and for those who may be immunocompromised. Shingles Vaccination is recommended for those over 50. Schedules for all these vaccinations should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

1 . Flu Vaccination

Now that you’ve taken the necessary steps to stay hydrated, let’s take a look at the other important part of keeping healthy – vaccinations. Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living recommends getting vaccinated to protect against a variety of illnesses, including the flu. 

Flu vaccinations are a great way to keep yourself and your family safe, and the benefits are clear. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting the flu, as well as reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do get it. It’s also important to remember that the flu can be spread to those around you, so getting vaccinated not only helps you, but your loved ones too. 

It’s recommended to get vaccinated before the start of the flu season, typically in the fall. You can easily find flu vaccinations available at your local pharmacy, doctor’s office, or health department. Most insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine, but it’s best to check with your provider to get more details.

2. Pneumonia Vaccination

Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living encourages you to take the next step in protecting your health by getting vaccinated. Vaccines help build immunity against certain illnesses and protect vulnerable populations. One important vaccine to consider is the pneumococcal vaccine, which helps fend off serious infections like pneumonia. 

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, and fever. The pneumococcal vaccine is a two-dose series that can help protect against the most common strains of pneumonia. It is recommended for adults 65 years or older, as well as people of any age with certain medical conditions. 

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine are usually mild and may include soreness, swelling, and redness at the injection site. Additionally, some people may experience muscle aches, headaches, or fever. It is important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects and discuss any questions or concerns you might have.

3 . Shingles Vaccination

As a part of Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living, it is important to also consider getting vaccinated for shingles. Shingles is a virus that is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, and can be especially uncomfortable and painful. It causes a painful rash and blisters that can last for weeks. Vaccination is the best line of defense against shingles, and can be done in nearly any doctor’s office.

The shingles vaccine is an injection given in one dose and is recommended for anyone over the age of 60. It is also recommended for those who have weakened immune systems due to conditions such as cancer, or those who have had organ transplants. The vaccine is safe and effective, and it is estimated that it can reduce the risk of developing shingles by more than 50%. 

Common side effects of the vaccine are mild and can include redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site, as well as headache, fatigue, and muscle aches.

Keep Your Home Clean

Houston’s Guide to a Healthy Home suggests that regular cleaning is essential for a healthy environment. Vacuuming and dusting weekly can help reduce allergens, while washing bed linens frequently will help keep dust mites in check. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops can help prevent the spread of germs. Dusting should be done with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to prevent airborne particles from spreading. Finally, improving air quality by using air purifiers and keeping windows open will further improve the quality of your home. Following these tips will help keep your home clean and healthy.

1 . Vacuum and Dust Regularly

After taking all the necessary precautions to keep your body safe, it’s important to also consider the cleanliness of your home. Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living recommends that you vacuum and dust regularly to keep your home free from dust, dirt, and allergens.

A good vacuuming and dusting routine can make all the difference. Start by vacuuming the carpets, rugs, and furniture, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Once you’ve gone over everything with the vacuum, use a microfiber cloth to dust the surfaces and furniture. Pay special attention to wood items, as they can be prone to dust buildup. Make sure to also dust around the baseboards and ceiling fans for a thorough clean.

Afterwards, take a look around your home and see if there’s anything you’ve missed.

2 . Wash Bed Linens Frequently

Protecting your home from dust and germs is just as important as getting vaccinated. Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living suggests washing bed linens frequently as an important step to keeping your home clean.

The warmth of your bed and the comfort of your sheets make it an inviting place to spend your nights. But while you are sleeping, dust and other small particles settle in your linens, making them a breeding ground for germs and allergens. Washing them frequently will help to break down the accumulation of dirt and bacteria, keeping your bed a healthy and comfortable place to rest. 

It’s recommended to wash bed linens once a week, especially when someone in your household is sick. To make sure all of the dirt and germs are removed, use hot water and a HEPA certified detergent. You can also add a fabric sanitizer to the wash cycle to disinfect and kill any remaining germs. Finally, dry your linens in the sun whenever possible to add an extra sanitizing boost.

3 . Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces

Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated, it is also important to take steps to keep your home clean and healthy. Houston’s guide to healthy living recommends disinfecting high-touch surfaces as part of your regular routine. High-touch surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and handles.

To disinfect high-touch surfaces, you can use an EPA-approved disinfectant, such as bleach or a disinfectant with ethanol or isopropanol. When using a disinfectant, always read the instructions and use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to use gloves and a face mask and open windows for ventilation. It is important to wear protective gear when disinfecting as some of the chemicals used can be quite harsh.

To disinfect high-touch surfaces, spray the surface with the disinfectant and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. After the time is up, wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth.

Practice Safe Socializing

Houston’s Guide to Safe Socializing mandates the following practices to promote health and safety amongst citizens: following local guidelines, wearing a mask, washing hands regularly, getting tested, and getting the vaccine when available. Following local guidelines is key to understanding and keeping up with the latest safety protocols. Wearing a mask helps to limit the spread of germs, while washing hands regularly removes germs from the skin. Testing is also essential to identify any potential infection early on, and if available, getting vaccinated can help protect individuals from infection. Together, these practices can help Houstonians socialize safely and remain healthy.

1 . Follow Local Guidelines

Having your home and your surroundings clean is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but so is practicing safe socializing. Following local guidelines is the best way to stay safe during the pandemic. Houston’s Guide to Health and Safety is an excellent source of information that can help you stay informed on current guidelines.

Whether you are going out for a walk or to do some shopping, it is important to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. For added safety, you should also practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others. If you are in an enclosed space, make sure to open windows or doors for proper ventilation.

It is also important to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially before and after meals, when you come home from being out, and before putting on your mask. Additionally, you should get tested if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if you have been experiencing any symptoms.

2 . Wear a Mask

In order to practice safe socializing, following local guidelines is a must. In Houston, this includes wearing a mask in public settings, as mandated by the city’s guide to healthy living. A mask is a simple way to protect yourself and those around you from the spread of the virus. Masks come in a variety of styles and materials, and offer varying levels of protection. 

When selecting a mask, look for one that is comfortable and fits snugly around your nose and mouth. It should also allow for easy breathing without hindering your ability to speak. If you find that cloth masks are too hot, try a mask made of breathable mesh fabric that still provides adequate protection. If you wear glasses, make sure to select a mask that keeps your glasses fog-free. 

In addition to wearing a mask, it is important to wash your hands regularly, get tested if you think you have been exposed, and, when available, get vaccinated. Together, these steps can help keep you and those around you safe.

3 . Wash Hands Regularly

Now that we’ve covered the basics of keeping a clean home, let’s move on to how we can practice safe socializing. As Houston’s Guide to Healthy Living states, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others is to regularly wash your hands. This means lathering up with soap and water, rubbing your palms and back of hands, interlacing your fingers, and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. It’s important to do this not just after using the restroom, but also before and after preparing food, eating, taking out the trash, touching surfaces, and even after being outside. 

It’s also important to make sure you’re using the right soap. Look for a soap with at least 60% alcohol content or one that has antibacterial properties. It’s also important to use hot water, as it helps activate the soap’s cleansing powers. After washing your hands, be sure to dry them with a clean towel or air dryer.

Conclusion

Staying healthy throughout the fall can be tricky, but with the right knowledge and planning, you can ensure that you and your loved ones remain happy, healthy, and safe. Houston is full of resources to support your health, from fresh local food, to health centers, and health-oriented activities. Making healthy food choices, getting active, taking care of your mental health, visiting health centers, staying hydrated, getting vaccinated, keeping your home clean, and practicing safe socialization are all key steps to staying healthy this fall. By following these steps, you can make sure Houstonians stay healthy and safe this fall!

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