We may want to hold onto summer as long as we can, but cooler mornings and nights are here to remind us that autumn has officially arrived. Senior Scope spoke with co-director of New Bedford Wellness Initiative, Julie Fostin, about how to make the seasonal transition with an effective exercise routine in place. Or, if not, how to get one re-started.  

What do you recommend for people who have had fun-filled summers and stopped exercising regularly? 

First, fall back into your health and wellness routine slowly. Too much too soon could result in an injury. I have many new clients who come to me very motivated. They tell me they are going to exercise seven days a week. I often tell them that with their busy lifestyle they need to take it slow to be successful. Exercise hasn’t been part of their routine for a while so keeping it manageable until they can establish an exercise schedule that works for them consistently is important. 

How do we restart those healthy habits? 

 As Dr. B.J. Fogg says, “Keep It Tiny!” Start small, very small. Maybe do a favorite exercise activity five to 10 minutes a day and once you feel successful then add on another five to 10 minutes. Folks need to build their exercise habit slowly to stay healthy, well, and successful because the more successful they feel the more motivated they will be to continue growing a healthy exercise routine. 

The mornings are cooler; the nights are earlier and getting outside is more difficult. Are there ways to stay healthy and well as we head into winter and we’re indoors more?  

Yes! The New Bedford Wellness Initiative offers many free classes on Facebook and in the next few months, we will be going back inside at The Greater New Bedford Boys & Girls Club on Sundays. Also, check with your local senior center or recreation center for any free programs they may offer or if they honor senior discounts. 

What’s most important for people to focus on in terms of wellness as fall kicks in seriously?  

Adopting healthy habits such as:  

  • A healthy sleep schedule. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  
  • Try to get outside in the sun for a little bit to get a healthy dose of vitamin D for a mood lifter. 
  • Grab a buddy and go for a walk or take advantage of a free exercise class. Because everything is better together! A buddy will help keep you more consistent with a regular exercise routine. 
  • Adopt a healthy diet with healthy proteins, fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

What one area do people often overlook during the summer months that they should pay more attention to this fall?  

Folks usually feel like they want to take the summer off and just pick up where they left off which can be very hard and defeating. This can result in them giving up on exercise altogether. My best advice would be to maintain your exercise program during the summer months just enough so that you don’t feel like you are starting all over again in the fall. Stay healthy and well all year! 

Julie Fostin is co-director of New Bedford Wellness Initiative and manager of Total Fitness in Bristol, R.I.