Here in Ohio, it’s finally becoming fall-like and so it’s time to think about fall fitness. The temperature has dropped and the leaves are finally starting to turn color. Autumn is a gorgeous time of year. Pumpkins are out on display, candy is on sale in the grocery store (yikes!), and there’s a sense of change in the air.
Fall is a favorite season for many people. It’s a good time to shake things up and rethink what we’re doing for our fitness.
Don’t eat the Halloween candy
I realize that Halloween is more of an American holiday but for many of us it’s the start of the holiday binge eating season. I enjoy participating in the holiday even though I have no children out trick-or-treating anymore. And yes, I give out candy. I’ve not turned into the crabby old woman who gives out toothpaste samples. However, I wait until almost the last minute to buy the candy because I hate having it in my house for too long a time. Candy is one of those things that if I start to sample it, I won’t stop.
Some people suggest buying candy that you dislike so you won’t be tempted to eat it. I guess that works but I‘m not fond of this idea. Probably because there’s little candy that I dislike.
Enjoy the Weather
Fall is often cooler temperatures, which makes outdoor activities more enjoyable. Running, hiking, and biking are all great things to enjoy when the temperatures are lower than the heat of the summer. The local park system by me holds an annual fall hiking spree. It’s great to see families out walking the different park trails.
Those of you who live in places with super-hot summers can begin to venture out of the air conditioning and begin to enjoy the outdoors again. If you live in a place where you move right into winter, start your snow activities now. Cross country skiing or snow shoeing are great activities.
Run a Race
There are a lot of races in the fall so consider signing up for a fun 5K. I’ve noticed that Halloween is a favorite race theme and many areas have a turkey trot race. Last year, Chris and I ran a local 5-mile turkey trot and then I ran another one while out of town.
Look around for something that appeals to you and sign up. You can of course walk a race too.
Dress in Layers
The temperature dropped enough here that when I went running last weekend, I had to break out the hat and gloves. I was glad to have them too. You don’t have to dress as warmly as you do if you decide to run in the winter but you still want to have layers on. It’s often chilly and then you begin to exercise and warm up and you may want to remove a layer.
It’s still important to wear clothes that wick next to your skin. You don’t want to trap moisture next to your body.
OK, my yard has about 60 trees on it so raking leaves at my house is not really a good time. But doing some of the leaf removal is great exercise. I look at yard work as a great chance to put on my headphones and listen to some podcasts. (Don’t forget to check out the latest episode of the Becoming Elli podcast!) Leaf raking is strenuous so be careful not to overdo it.
This is also the time to attack weeds for the last time and take down dead flower stems. I end up chopping down the peonies this time of year. Check with a gardening expert for advice on pruning shrubs and trees. Pruning in the fall can destroy next spring’s blooms.
Don’t become a couch potato
The fall is still the time when many TV series start the next season. We tend to begin to watch more TV as the days get shorter and the new episodes appear on the DVR. Don’t let this be the time that you just become a couch potato. Maybe do exercises during commercials or walk around your house while watching.
Light up the night
Because the days are shorter, you may end up doing things outside in the dark. I know I walk in my neightborhood in the evenings and sometimes go for a run even when it’s dark. Be careful, however. Make sure drivers can see you. Wear reflective clothing and maybe take a flashlight with you. I often have my phone with me and will turn on the flashlight option so that I’m visible in the dark.
If you’ve gone out bicycling, be sure that your bike has a light on it and reflectors. If you’re caught out after dark, you really want to be visible to others.
Play a Sport
Many sports start up in the fall for children. Soccer and football are two sports that often have a fall season. If you’re spectating, consider walking around while the kids play.
If you have family around, suggest a friendly game of soccer or tag football. You’ll be surprised how fun playing a sport can be.
I saw an ad recently for an indoor tennis court. If you’re a tennis player, that might be a great addition to the fall activities. It would probably be fun to take some tennis lessons too.
Return to the Gym
Many of us abandon the gym when the weather gets nice in the spring. Now that it’s cooling off, perhaps it’s time to return to the gym. Sign up for a class or maybe have a couple of personal training sessions.
Many rec departments start exercise classes in the fall. Check them out and sign up for something that sounds fun.
Begin to plan for winter and the next year
As you participate in these autumn fitness activities, I know your mind is going to turn to winter and then what you want to do next spring and summer. Someone said to me recently, “I can’t wait to get this last race over with so I can get back to the gym and lift. As Chris pointed out, winter becomes our strength season. Also, if you do races, many of the next year races have lower registration rates as we head into the last few months of the year.
Begin to think about what you hope to accomplish this winter and next year. This is a good time to reflect on what you achieved this year fitness-wise and to plan on the next set of goals. Don’t wait for the last minute to make resolutions. Have a plan.