Autumn is a season of change. Tree leaves turn yellow and red, it gets darker earlier and temperatures start to drop. It's a favorite time of year for many people. However, the colder weather and impending holiday stress can cause some to fall of the fitness wagon.
But it doesn't have to be that way! There are plenty of enjoyable ways to get or stay fit. Planning for seasonal changes, finding support from group exercise and embracing events and activities that the season has to offer are key factors in staying fit through the transition.
1. Take advantage of autumn activities.
Autumn group events like hiking, leaf peeping, apple picking and corn mazes are just a few of the active options the season has to offer that can also be a fun bonding experience for family and friends.
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year for getting outside. So grab a friend and find some local parks or trails to walk, run or bike and take in the view of changing leaves. Or organize a weekend trip with an autumn theme and plan to be active.
Read more: The Top 10 Spectacular Fall Foliage Hikes
2. Sign up for a fun run.
With the fall season come many holiday-themed fun runs and events. Look in the newspaper or online for costumed Halloween runs, Thanksgiving turkey trots and reindeer romps.
Training for a specific goal like a race increases the likelihood that you'll actually stick to an exercise program. Signing up with friends or family is another great way to keep yourself accountable for completing the training.
3. Dress for the weather.
When weather gets colder, it can deter people from going outside to work out. But there's an easy fix to this problem: wearing wind-shielding clothing and dressing in layers. Proper attire and accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) that cut down on bulk but still allow for warmth make outdoor fitness more enjoyable as the chill of fall approaches.
4. Drink lots of water.
Be sure to stay hydrated even when temperatures cool down. People often feel less thirsty when it's not hot outside, but staying hydrated is just as important in the fall as it is when the sun is blazing. When fall rolls around, remember to stay on top of your fluid intake to help with both exercise recovery and appetite control.
5. Sip a cup of tea.
Drink more tea to warm up for the cooler temperatures. Green and black teas contain antioxidants that help ward off sickness during cold and flu season so you can remain healthy and active as the season shifts.
6. Avoid holiday candy.
According to the National Institutes of Health, on average, non-obese adults gain about a pound a year around the holidays. In addition to creating unhealthy habits, accumulation of this weight over time can lead to obesity. Be sure to pack lots of healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day to help deter you from grazing on sweets that pop up in the office, at home or at holiday parties.
7. Turn fall chores into a workout.
According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound person can burn 149 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes. Turn outdoor chores into a game by setting small, achievable goals to help pass time and burn away fat.
8. Exercise earlier in the day.
Try to work out in the morning or during the day. With the time changing and the sun setting earlier, it can feel as though it's later in the day than it really is. This can make people more tired than usual. Getting into a routine of working out early will guarantee the workout gets done and still allow time in the afternoons and evenings to relax.
9. Take your workout indoors.
As the weather cools down and summer ends, it can become difficult to stay motivated. Trying a variety of different indoor activities and varying your workouts will help keep a fresh spin on exercise and allow for confidence to build within a wide range of activities.
Read more: Join the 8-Week STRONGER Challenge
10. Be realistic about your schedule.
With the holiday season in full swing, your schedule fills up quickly. If you know you're going to a lot of holiday gatherings and family outings, don't commit to hours and hours at the gym.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you can realistically devote to working out each week. That way, you won't beat yourself up when you can't make it to the gym seven days a week.
What Do YOU Think?
What are some of your best tips for staying active during the fall? Did any of these help? Which ones do you think you'll put into practice? Are there any others you'd add to the list? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!