Healthy Fall

Crisp fall weather is made for physical activity — walking, running, biking, swimming are all fair game. They’re excellent forms of aerobic exercise, which means they give the heart a good workout. Even when life is ultra-hectic, it’s important to plan for exercise.

Exercise helps control blood pressure, and it helps your heart function optimally when you’re under mental stress, according to a Duke University Medical Center study. Additional benefits of regular aerobic exercise: weight loss, improved cardiovascular fitness, lowered heart rate, healthier blood vessels, and a better-pumping heart.

Runner’s high is real, research shows. During exercise, the brain produces endorphins — natural chemicals similar to morphine that cause a feeling of happiness. For maximum endorphin benefit, get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week, advises the American Council on Exercise.

Yoga and tai chi also help with relaxation. While they won’t produce a significant endorphin release, these timeless practices increase strength, flexibility, and balance control. Because they involve deep breathing and calming exercises, they also help in releasing stress.