With the kids back in school and colder weather upon us, the end of summer can make it tough to stick to your usual fitness habits. Use that cool, crisp air for breathing new life into your ordinary, or missing fitness routine.
You don’t need to be in shape to get started, but you have to get started to get in shape. Use the ten tips in this article to make that a reality this Fall. Then it will be easier staying fit all year round.
1) Take Advantage of the Weather
The fall season is the perfect time to get outside and rejuvenate your fall fitness routine. Besides providing sunshine and fresh air, the great outdoors is the ideal canvas for the next stage in your fitness journey.
Simply walking in a local park is a great fall activity. Or maybe you’d prefer to take a hike in the woods and enjoy the scenery. Better yet take your child or grandchild walking or hiking.
Or get your heart pumping by finding some bike trails and taking a bike ride around your town. The options for outdoor workouts are virtually endless.
Even if you don’t work out, a 2020 Cornell University report shows that spending as little as 10 minutes outdoors reduces physical and mental stress. So get outside and improve your health!
2) Go Back to the Gym (or workout at home)
While outdoor workouts are great, sometimes they’re just not possible. Instead, head indoors and reacquaint yourself with the gym.
Don’t belong to a gym? No problem. Your body weight or a simple pair of dumbbells is all you need to get started at home. Don’t know what to do? Easy; scan YouTube, grab a workout DVD from the library, or download an app to find that perfect fall-inspired workout. You can even find popular workout videos like Jillian Michaels for free online.
3) Try Something New
The stimulus of a new exercise provides physical and mental benefits, and fall is a great time to try something new. For example, group fitness classes are a great way to work out and foster relationships.
Or bring your yoga mat and perfect your moving meditation with a yoga class. Even if it’s not high-intensity, just getting started has tremendous benefits. Plus yoga works multiple muscles and helps with strength training.
In fact, according to Kelsey Holland, the director of the Center for Fitness and Wellness at Pennsylvania State University, a new activity engages you more mentally than repeated exercise does. “Your brain is extremely active when learning these motor pathways,” Holland says. “Your brain is working on overdrive in addition to your muscles.”
You can also take up running outdoors. Running is a great workout, even for beginners.
4) Bring a Friend
Motivation can be challenging as the days get shorter. Keep up your healthy habit by teaming up with a friend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working out with a friend allows you to be:
- More motivated
- More adventurous
- More consistent
Close and meaningful friendships have even been shown to increase lifespan. So team up and get started. You and a friend can even join group fitness classes or just go bike riding together.
5) Keep a Log
An exercise log is also essential in helping you plan and maintain your workout program. A log can contain helpful information regarding your workout routine, fitness levels, progress, intensity, and accomplishments.
A log can be simple to complex, handwritten or digital – do whatever works best for you. The important thing is to keep track of what you’ve done so you can see how far you’ve gone.
6) Set Goals
Goal setting is a deliberate and explicit process that begins with deciding on a new objective or ability you wish to develop. While there are many techniques and ways to do so, you want to be very specific when you set your goals.
If you develop a detailed plan for the when, where, and how of your goals, you are 2 to 3 times more likely to stick with them. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
For example, setting a goal to “walk more” – while great – is not what you’re after. Instead, try to challenge yourself with something like “I will walk 3x times every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 minutes each time.” As a bonus, write it down in your fitness log before you do it, and then check it off when you’ve done it.
Develop a healthier diet this autumn
7) Stock Up on Fall Foods
Nutrition doesn’t have to be boring, and there are plenty of yummy fantastic fall recipes that you can incorporate into your diet.
Kim Yawitz, a registered dietitian and gym owner in St. Louis, MO says “Fall veggies are incredibly versatile, so it’s a great time to focus on eating more of them. This is even more important if you’re among the 90 percent of adults who don’t get the recommended two to three cups per day.”
Kim adds, “I like adding kale to casseroles, stirring root veggies into soups and stews, and roasting big batches of mixed veggies for easy meal prep”.
Use autumn to stock up on tasty foods such as apples, pumpkins, squash, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes. Even better if you can pick them yourself! Not only will they be fresh, but you’ll also save money and consume them at their nutritional peak.
8) Cut The Alcohol
While dealing with relatives around the holidays may be necessary, alcohol poses many issues. Namely, it’s high in calories, provides almost no nutrients, and leads to other poor decisions. It also increases recovery time and impairs muscle building and recovery by up to 37%.
Make the most of your fall workouts by losing (or limiting) your alcohol intake.
Do the little things
Sleep is vital to fitness and health. Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions. Sleep allows your body to recuperate, replenishes energy, and strengthens and repairs the muscles used during activity. According to the CDC, more than 30-35 percent of us are sleep-deprived.
“We exercise for a purpose: for cardiovascular health, to increase lean muscle mass, to improve endurance, and more. All of these ‘goals’ require sleep,” says W. Christopher Winter, MD, the president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and the author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It.
In other words, you undermine your exercise and health without sleep.
10) Make it a habit
Lastly, encompass all the above tips and make exercising a habit. Even better, replace a current unhealthy habit with your new exercise routine.
According to the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, any bad habit can be changed. Plus, new habits can be started. It typically takes around 30 days for a habit to “set in,” so try all the above and develop your new workout habit.
It’s not always easy, but getting fit, setting goals, eating healthy, and reducing stress can be achieved by anyone. So take advantage of the cooler weather with myriad fun fall activities.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.