Fall into fitness

When the weather gets cooler, we’re often tempted to retreat inside and hibernate on the couch. And while there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying the pleasures of a warm blanket and a good book, the lure of the great indoors does mean we might be less apt to get the exercise we’ve been used to getting over the summer months. Gardens are cleaned up and tucked in for the winter and there’s no grass to mow, so even those outdoor chores that helped us stay fit and nimble have disappeared along with the summer sun.

Staying active in the fall may take a little bit of effort, but it’s worth it. After all, we know it’s important to get some physical activity every day. It’s been well documented that exercise can lower the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. But research also shows that being active can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reduce your risk of stress, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.1

Those are pretty compelling reasons to get up and at ‘em this fall—and here’s a list of fun ways you can do just that!

  1. Sign up. Look for dance classes, spin classes, mall-walking groups, pole-walking groups, or fitness or yoga classes, and make a commitment to joining in. Once you’ve signed up and paid your fees (if applicable), you’ll feel more motivated to actually commit to the activity. Look for classes at seniors’ centers and community centers. Some places of worship even hold beginner ballroom dance classes.
  2. Be an active TV watcher. In just one hour of television, there are roughly 20 minutes of commercials. Spend those 20 minutes walking or jogging in place, or doing lunges, planks or squats. Visit Bustle for a list of 10 simple exercises you can do in front of the television.
  3. Walk before the snow flies. Depending upon where you live, you may start to get snow as early as November. Before the white stuff hits the ground, get into a walking routine. Fall is a beautiful time of year, and walking is one of the best ways to enjoy it.
  4. Explore walking tours. If you live in or near a large city, check out tourism websites to find out about historical walking tours, or even ghost walks, if you’re into a bit of spooky fun! If you can’t find an organized walking tour, do some research on your city or town and create your own. Map out a route and discover the hidden gems right in your own backyard.
  5. Harvest some fun. It takes more effort to walk through an orchard or pumpkin patch than it does to pop into the grocery store, so pick your own apples or pumpkins. Look for fall fairs in your local area too. They’re usually held on large fair grounds, and walking the circuit a few times is a fun way to get in some steps—especially if they have a corn maze on site!

Remember that it’s important to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, particularly if you have underlying health conditions. Once you get the all clear, plan to embrace this beautiful season by making a commitment to staying active and involved.


1 http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Whybeactive.aspx

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