Even if you don’t bring the kids back to school or to a climate where fall brings changing leaves and dropping temperatures, there is usually a change in our schedules and moods that comes with the onset of school. fall, says Lindsay Ogden of Minneapolis, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and the digital manager of content and coaching at for Life Time, a national fitness company that runs gyms and wellness programs. in company.
Fewer hours of daylight can mean you spend less time outdoors, especially in the evening or early in the morning. You might find yourself less motivated to stick with an outdoor workout, especially if you’ve been exercising at one of those times, Ogden says. “Maybe it’s dark now when you get up.” “
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Some people have more energy to train at new times of the day, she says. Or you might be craving new ways to fully train. That “fresh start” feeling that comes with trying new things can be very motivating, says Ogden.
Novelty can make it playful and fun – and something you look forward to rather than something you feel like you have to go through.
Here are some ideas for activities to try that can help you adjust to a lot of movement and accept the change of seasons:
1. Apple picking
Fall has plenty of outdoor activities to help you take that extra step, from picking apples and navigating a corn maze to hiking or biking.
Activities like these can increase overall activity throughout the day and provide short periods of intensity, Ogden explains. For example, apple picking requires stretching overhead, as well as forward twists and bends (all good for maintaining mobility). A corn maze might inspire you to sprint in a race with your friends and family.
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Getting different types of movement than you’d find in a gym can improve overall fitness, Ogden says, because you’re using multiple muscle groups. Plus, she adds that being outdoors can give you an extra boost in your sanity.
“Wherever you are, think about ways to enjoy the season and really embrace it,” suggests Ogden. By enjoying the movement, you will feel less working.
2. Fun races
Fall is definitely the season for “fun races,” says Ogden. For example, many cities have a turkey trotting race either on Thanksgiving Day or the following weekend. Other fun races have themes – like a color race, where you run through clouds of non-toxic colored powder, or a leaf race, where you run through a course lined with resplendent trees. of fall colors – and encourage attendees to dress in costume or party attire, says Ogden. Many of these runs have a less intimidating 5K or other shorter distance option, or allow you to complete the route on foot. Music, post-event celebrations, and the company of others provide a festive atmosphere.
“It’s about having a good time,” says Ogden. They’re especially great if you’re new to running – or haven’t already, Ogden says – because they offer a fun and manageable goal to achieve.
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore, and cooler weather doesn’t mean your only option is to hit the treadmill at the gym. Instead, turn on your favorite beats and get moving.
The benefits of dancing can be great whether you’re practicing your favorite song as a solo dancer or taking a class with others. For example, in a small study on postmenopausal women published in July 2021 in the journal Menopause, the researchers asked 36 women (with an average age of 57) to take dance lessons together three times a week for 16 weeks. By the end of those four months, participants had better cholesterol levels, improved balance and strength, and even higher self-esteem.
Part of the benefits probably come from the social component and sharing a lot of laughs, suggests. Scott Kaiser, MD, geriatrician and director of geriatric cognitive health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California. Although he was not involved in the research, he says that similar studies on physical activity and social connections have highlighted the strong connection between them.
“And with dancing, or any other class you’re unfamiliar with, you learn something new,” he adds. Novelty can make the chase exciting.
“Even if you’re just dancing in your living room to a song, it tends to give you a health and mood boost,” says Dr. Kaiser. Doing movements that you like will make it easier for you to stick with it.
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As the evenings get longer and you head into winter, it helps to recognize this downshift and look into it, Ogden says. Maybe that means that instead of fighting it with strenuous HIIT sessions, become calmer and more restful with a practice like yin yoga. While some yin practices can be similar to a restorative practice, others can really be a workout, she adds.
This type of yoga involves holding poses for longer, usually three to five minutes, and letting your body “sink” into the position. It feels relaxed and relieved to some extent, which is a great way to keep your stress-relieving workout (rather than inducing stress) while you maybe adjust to a fall routine. accelerated. But it’s not all relaxing – those longer takes can feel intense, especially after the first minute, and you may find it more difficult than you expected, but in a good way.
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5. Raking leaves and other gardening work
Not all fitness effort has to be comprehensive, structured workouts. Ogden says that home gardening tasks like raking leaves or planting tulip bulbs for spring can help your body move in a number of ways.
These can be part of what’s called accidental high-intensity physical activity, according to the authors of a editorial published in February 2019 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. They define this type of activity as sporadic bursts of exercise that can be done as part of everyday tasks such as raking, cleaning the house, carrying heavy groceries, or rushing up stairs.
Researchers explain in this report that adding even a few seconds of these activities into daily life can have significant health benefits (such as improving cardiovascular function, regulating blood sugar more effectively, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes). , especially for people who are otherwise very sedentary.
6. Strength training
The cooler months can be a great time to add strength training to your fitness routine. Less daylight and more rigorous weather may cause you to seek more suitable indoor workouts anyway, says Florida-based Clearwater. Mike Matthews, CSCS, author of The little black book of motivation in training.
There is a lot of research that points to the benefits of lifting weights. For example, a research review published in May 2021 in Sports medicine suggests that it may help regulate blood sugar and improve cardiometabolic health, thereby lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Not so excited to fall and pump a bunch of pumps? Matthews suggests trying a strength training workout you’ve never done before. Trying something new can be a major motivation boost, he says.
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“When you’re short on time, like your fall schedule is very busy, strength training can be very effective, and a few sessions a week can make the difference in helping you feel stronger,” he says. .
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