By Nicole Flanagan
Fall Back Into Exercise:
For some of us the fall brings a feeling of renewal. The changing of seasons can bring a change in your daily routine. With the kids heading back to school and the holidays just around the corner it may be impossible to find time to exercise. But what better time of the year is there to enjoy the fresh air without the heat and humidity. September is a great time to get back in gear and change up that workout you have been doing all summer. There are twelve weeks from the beginning of September until Thanksgiving. That is a great time frame to get in the habit of a new workout that you will be able to stick with through the winter months. There are so many ways to make exercising more fun in the fall. Trying out a new routine or simply bringing a running workout from the treadmill to the tree-lined streets is a great way to change your routine and get your mind set on some new workout goals.
Fall is a great time for running, cycling, hiking, and walking. Walking is the easiest form of exercise. The key to making walking enjoyable is to make it a part of your daily routine. Start walking in the morning before work or school. By getting started early you jump start your body, mind, and metabolism so you have more energy throughout the day. If you need something a little more fast-paced, running is a great way to stay in shape especially in the fall. It’s not too hot, not too cold and the crisp morning air will be much more awakening than a buzzing alarm clock. Once you get in the habit of a morning run or walk you will find yourself looking forward to waking up early just to see the sun rise as you begin your workout.
Bringing your cycling workout from the studio to the streets or the trails will add fun to your workout. Get out those mountain bikes and take the kids out for a bike ride after school. You will get to spend time with the family while enjoying a fun calorie-burning workout. If biking on the trails does not seem like it’s for you then try going hiking. It’s a great leg workout and the views of the woods in the fall are beautiful.
When the weather begins to get too chilly, take advantage of that gym membership you’ve been holding on to. Gyms offer a variety of cardio and strength machines that can help you to break that workout plateau. The key to keep seeing results is to keep a workout interesting. Don’t do the same exercises over and over for an extended period of time. By changing your workout every couple weeks you are forcing your body to adapt to new routines. This keeps it from becoming “comfortable” with a certain workout.
Take advantage of all that your club has to offer. Most health clubs offer free classes to their members. If you are looking for a high intensity calorie burner, try a cycle or a cardio kick boxing class. If you want an all over strength and flexibility workout try pilates or a beginner yoga class. If your club has an indoor pool I highly recommend taking a water aerobics class or swimming laps on your own. Swimming is a great overall strength and conditioning workout, (just look at Michael Phelps) and if you have access to a pool year round why not take advantage of it.
If you’re not crazy about going the gym then home fitness is another great option. Having a home gym can be as simple as having a few sets of dumbbells and some resistance bands to having a complete gym with at home cardio machines, mirrors from ceiling to floor and a weight bench. There are also workouts that you can do with no equipment at all. There are many resources available online to help you with everything you need for a home gym, from what equipment you need to how to organize your workout.
The best way to keep up with your fitness is to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. We all know the obvious suggestions like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car farther away from the mall entrance, and walking to lunch on your break. Here are a few that may be less obvious. When you are at your kid’s soccer practice or game walk a few laps around the field instead of sitting and watching. You’ll get a much better view of the action and also get some exercise in for yourself. Be an active television watcher. Most of our favorite shows start the new season in the fall. While you’re enjoying the new season of your favorite show do some standing lunges, jog in place, lift weights or do tricep dips on the couch. During commercials do as many sit-ups and push-ups as you can get in before the show comes back on. During a one-hour show you will probably get almost twenty minutes of commercials.
With so many options to amp up your fitness routine for the fall it seems like it should be easy to get started. Half of winning the battle with exercise is getting into the habit. Remember that it takes about four weeks for the body to adapt to lifestyle changes. Try to stick with your new program for a month. After that, behavior patterns will have adapted and your program will be much easier to stick with. Good Luck!