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Sean McCawley

Sean McCawley 

The breathtaking summer climate in the Napa Valley promotes physical activity among its inhabitants. Plenty of pickleball, golf and bocce ball has been played in the Mediterranean environment.

My pickleball comrades and I enjoy the foggy, overcast mornings as we smash a ball back and forth and the vineyards glow gloriously in our peripheral visions. It doesn’t get much better than summer in Napa.

However, just like many great things in life, all good things must come to an end. The fall season is upon us. It’s time to bundle up, fend off the cold weather and stay dry. The sun rises later in the morning and sets earlier in the evening. This offers the opportunity for plenty of sleep to fend off illness and recharge our bodies for the next summer.

Along with the cold, damp, and dreary weather fall brings, so does the desire to stay indoors. Our natural inhibition to remain inside keeps us warm, dry, and around light sources. This helps us remain healthy, allowing us to perform our essential duties for work and daily living.

However, remaining indoors introduces the tendency to reduce physical activity. Who wants to venture out to get wet, cold, and trip over something because it’s ominously dark like the setting of Friday the 13th?

There are deterrents to venturing outside during the fall and winter months. However, this doesn’t mean that all physical activity needs to cease. It’s vital for our previously active summer bodies to stay moving so that we can maintain our fitness levels and healthy parameters of our body. Cessation of physical activity can lead to threats of a sedentary lifestyle. These detrimental effects include increased body weight, decreased immune system and developing arthritic symptoms in joints.

Instead of letting the cold keep you from venturing outside, welcome it. A variety of outdoor beauty awaits us as the seasons change in Napa. The leaves transform into yellow, orange and amber hues like the historic paint strokes of Van Gogh and Caravaggio. Fog rolls over the hills of our valley. The fall sunsets melting against the greyish-blue clouds the cold winter months bring are like no other time of year. These moments are impossible to view if we remain indoors and hide from a little bit of winter weather.

One of the best times to venture outside is after dinner. Once we get home from a long day of work, school, or yardwork and sit at the table to partake in some much-needed nutrition, the body needs a chance to digest. If we simply sit down after a large meal, the food that we just took in will sit in our bellies. However, by taking a small jaunt around the neighborhood, circulating blood will continue to deliver oxygenated blood flow throughout the body and the stomach. This will give the stomach and gastrointestinal tract some energy to move along food and absorb nutrients as the food we consumed is passed through our bodies.

Not only is this important for immediate digestion following a meal at the end of the day, but taking an evening walk is a calming conclusion to the day. A post-dinner evening walk can symbolize an end point to the day. This enables our minds and bodies to truly relax and get ready for a good night’s sleep.

Plus, we get to enjoy the picturesque beauty fall brings. We can’t see that if we stay inside hiding from a drop of a few degrees and some water on the ground. We don’t live in the Midwest or the Great Plains where blizzards ravage the cities.

Summer will come again in another six months or so. The physical activities and hobbies that we enjoyed during those months will return. We need to be ready for those opportunities for movement next season. Let’s keep the momentum and continue to move during this unique change of season before daylight saving time hits.

Enjoy what fall has to bring and take some walks after dinner.

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Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, napatenacious@gmail.com or visit the website napatenaciousfitness.com.

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