Fall and Fitness
By Nicole Flanagan
With fall comes brisk mornings, followed by cooler days, and not to mention the beautiful foliage and delicious fall foods. Now is the time to get that workout into your schedule so that it becomes part of your routine before things get hectic for the holidays. Here are just a few reasons why you should use this fall to make fitness part of your life. Enjoy the year’s most beautiful season. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. Explore parks in your area; find a new bike path through the woods, take a walk around a lake. The time spent out in nature will do as much good for your mind as for your body.
Get back to the club. As I have said before, it takes 30 days to make a habit, and supplementing your outdoor activities with a regular gym workout will help keep you on track. While cardio exercise is good for your heart, it is important to add some resistance training to your program as well. If you are looking for something new, sign up with a personal trainer for a few sessions and have them come up with a new program for you. This is especially a good idea if you are looking for a program specifically suited to help you improve your running or hiking.
Take advantage of what fall has to offer. Fall makes me think of apple picking. Turns out that this awesome fruit has incredible health benefits. Apples contain pectin, which has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and can help with managing diabetes. The antioxidants found in apples have been found to lower the risk for asthma and lung cancer. In addition to that, apples also provide us with about 8mg of vitamin C. This is not a sufficient amount, but considering that every bit counts and cold season is around the corner we’ll take what we can get. With that being said, head out to the nearest orchard some weekend for some apple picking!
Make your workouts social. Nothing kills a workout routine faster than boredom. Find a friend and use your 40-minute walk to catch up with each other. If you have a workout partner who you know is going to meet with you then you are more likely to stick with it. If that doesn’t seem to fit into you or your friend’s schedule, get a trainer. A trainer will help to motivate you to want to come in and workout, and also hold you accountable for reaching your fitness goals. It’s a good way to get back in the workout groove.
Do yoga. The first time I ever did yoga I thought to myself -“This is crazy.” It seemed so slow, no sweating (well not really), no breathing hard, so just what was the point of these excruciatingly slow exercises? I kept doing it and I actually started to enjoy it once I allowed myself to relax and do something gentle for a change. The very things I hated at first became the things I appreciated most – having a gentle, slow activity that was more about feeling good than pushing myself to the limit. Yoga is the perfect way to balance out your routine, especially if your workouts are heavy on the cardio and strength, light on the flexibility and relaxation. A well-rounded program touches on all different areas of fitness – pushing hard as well as pulling back. If you haven’t tried yoga, I strongly recommend heading into your local health club or nearest yoga studio to check it out.
Take these fitness ideas and put them to some good use. Get outside for a hike and some apple picking, run with a friend, try a workout with a trainer and do some yoga. All of these should help you to build a good foundation for your fall fitness routine and keep those Thanksgiving dinner pounds at bay!