Summer is over, school is in full swing, and it’s so tempting to curl up on the couch with a vat of popcorn and the remote. Resist the call of the Sunday afternoon snooze, because there are lots of great ways to enjoy the crisp, cool days and get in a workout while you’re at it.
Take a Hike
Now is a great time to get out among some nature and breathe in the season. The trees are changing colors; the air crackles with the scents of evergreens and falling leaves. Skies are deep blue, and the clouds are active. Leave your ear buds at home and enjoy the sounds as well as the sights; birds and squirrels are entertaining busybodies right now. Plan a nature walk or just get out in your local park and look around. Go on an urban hike and check out the fall produce at the farmers’ market to what is in season. It doesn’t take very many blocks to get your heart rate up, and you may have such a good time you won’t even know you’re exercising.
Rake It In
Is your yard full of leaves? Did you miss your upper body workout this week? These are two birds you can take out with one garden implement. Raking is a great activity for your arms and back, and it can be a very meditative task as well. Also, you’ll see the results of all of your hard work as soon as you’re done, which is not generally the case when you leave the weight room. When all the effort is over, if you think you’re too old to jump in a pile of leaves, guess again. This can be a fun way to reap the rewards of this task with the kids.
Pass It On
It’s football season! Whether you’re a fan or not, you can have some fun with a few friends or your kids tossing a ball around at the park or in your own back yard. It’s a cardio workout, it improves balance and coordination, and it also releases endorphins because it’s a great time with people you love. You don’t need to know the rules; just enjoy yourself. Don’t have a football? Pretend you’re a high school athlete and just go run some bleacher stairs.
Hit the Patch
Skip the boring supermarket pumpkin bins and get yourself out to a farm to choose your own pumpkin pie ingredients. Lifting the jumbo pumpkins works your upper body; and carrying them is great for your abs, glutes, and quads. Make sure to use your legs and core when lifting for a little extra workout. If you find a farm with a challenging corn maze, you can work out your mind and your body at the same time for an afternoon full of outdoor antics. A visit to the pumpkin patch is a fun idea for a family activity, a date, or a get-together with friends.
Stretch Out by the Fire
At the end of your busy day, slip in a yoga DVD, light a fire, and do some serious unwinding in the comfort of your own home. The heat will keep your body warm and comfortable, and the yoga poses will help your mind and muscles relax. It’s an excellent way to let go of all the stress of the day while doing something fantastic for your body. The practice of yoga is known to improve circulation, immunity, muscle tone, digestion, mental clarity, and balance. It strengthens your body and calms your mind. What more could you ask for?
Don’t let fall laziness be the gateway to winter doldrums. Get out and enjoy the season. Autumn is a beautiful time of change; take a moment to think about what you harvested personally this year and what you can happily let go of. It’s a time of powering down and turning your thoughts toward family, togetherness, and home, and it’s also a time to adjust your fitness routine to align with these priorities. You’ll look and feel great, and you won’t have to feel guilty about relishing in some of the other benefits of fall, like apple cider and pumpkin pie.
Photo Credit: Kleine Scheidegg hiking trails by Ed Coyle