Ready to embrace more outdoor fitness as the weather cools off this fall? You’re not alone. Cooler temperatures and beautiful settings of colorful fall foliage make outdoor workouts a must in autumn. More and more people will take their typical workout routine al fresco this fall, whether it’s joining an outdoor yoga class or participating in a pickup game of tag football.
If you’re heading outside to stay fit, don’t forget these important tips and reminders:
Colder weather, shorter days, increased holiday traffic - all of these factors add up to potential safety hazards when it comes to working out outdoors. Make sure to:
Monitor weather: Stay on top of weather forecasts when you plan on working out outside. You never know when a cold snap, sudden hail storm, or potentially slippery conditions might sneak up on you. Smartphone apps like Weather.com or DarkSky can give you a quick glimpse into your local forecast and upcoming weather concerns.
Wear layers: It’s easier to pull off a second shirt after you warm up than it is to find more clothing when you’re working out and suddenly feel a chill. Layering up gives you the freedom to control your body temperature and spend as much time as you want exercising and playing sports outdoors.
Hydrate: You may not feel as thirsty when you’re not working out under a blazing summer sun, but that doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need just as much hydration. Don’t forget to stay on top of drinking sufficient amounts of water before, during, and after a workout.
Fall provides a picturesque opportunity for cross-training activities that can help runners especially stay in peak form while adding variety to their training schedule. Popular fall exercises include:
Cycling: The low-impact nature of cycling doesn’t mean it’s not a great workout. Engaging key leg muscle groups but without the impact of running keeps you in shape while giving your knees a break.
Hiking: A walk in the woods might not seem like a form of “training” but with the right attitude and a killer trail, you’ll be breaking a sweat in no time. The inclines and declines of mountain trails provide a stellar leg workout, not to mention honing balance and breathing skills too.
Rowing: Maybe swimming in colder water doesn’t sound like fun, but rowing definitely can be! Rowing is a growing fitness trend that offers a full body workout, engaging muscle groups from your arms and core to your back and legs. Find rowing groups near you to join on MeetUp.com or check with your local gym.
Outdoor Yoga: Enhance an avid yoga routine with refreshing outdoor practice this fall. Take your own individual practice out into a park or even your own front yard, or sign up for an outdoor yoga class offered near you. Incorporate new yoga styles and new props (blocks, blankets, and yoga straps) for added variety too.
Diet & Nutrition
Incorporating more staples from the seasonal fall harvest will do your body (and mind) good when it comes to enhancing your workout.
Winter squash like acorn and butternut squash are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but high in potassium, making them a must-have superfood addition to your post workout meal plan.
Apples generate loads of Vitamin C and powerful antioxidants, and while offered year round in most grocery stores, are freshest from local sources in the fall.
Pumpkin seeds might seem like a froo froo foodie fad, but they actually bear a significant amount of nutritional value. Nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and even protein are packed into these little powerhouses, not to mention Omega-3s!
Kale and other cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and brussel sprouts are fall staples that offer appreciable amounts of vitamins C, K, and B-6 in addition to fiber, iron, choline, and calcium.
A little creativity can go a long way this fall in adding color and variety to your workout routine. Incorporate fun outdoor exercises into your weekly regimen, join seasonal and holiday athletic charity events like walkathons and 5Ks, and even turn raking leaves into a way to burn calories and work out muscles - the ideas are endless.