17 Tips for Fall Fitness
17 tips for fall fitness
Summer has left us and her fiery heat has been replaced with fall’s cool breezes, vibrant colors and fallen leaves. You may find yourself struggling with this seasonal shift, but I am here to remind you that a lot of good can come from this change – especially when it comes to your health.
Today’s article gives you 17 tips for fall fitness that will help you stay focused on your wellness this season.
Fall is for renewal
The start of the fall season provides an opportunity for you to undergo a metamorphosis of sorts – it’s a great time to assess where you are in all aspects of your life. Now is a good time to renew and discover which parts of yourself you’d like to embrace and expand upon, and which parts of your summer skin you’d like to shed.
Think of fall as the start of a new year. Rather than waiting until January 1st to set goals and make fitness and health promises, why not start now? Create healthy habits now, and you will be looking and feeling great when the hectic winter season hits.
Fall fitness tips
Working out doesn’t have to stop once the first leaf falls to the ground. Here are tons of fall fitness tips that will help you stay motivated with movement this fall season.
1. Create fall fitness goals
Before launching a health and fitness program, you must establish baseline goals. Goals will give you purpose and help you stay focused on your mission.
- Establish two or three goals for the fall season. Most people have the most success adopting a habit when they start with goals that are broken into modest, manageable steps. Here’s an example: You may have the goal to run a 5k or half marathon before the end of the season. This goal can be broken down further in tiny habits. How will you prepare for the race? Perhaps you will write a food log for 2 weeks, or strength train three times a week and run four times a week. After you have a sense of what you are doing and how often, get more specific. What will your nutrition and resistance program be? What types of running will you do? Which days will you do these workouts?
- Whatever your goals, write them down and make them visible. Revisit them often and adjust as needed.
2. Enjoy the cooler air
Adjust your mindset and embrace that the change in temperature is a good thing. Enjoy the crisp air and take advantage of outdoor activities before the winter freeze rolls in.
- Choose activities that you enjoy. The more you like doing something, the more likely you will stick with it throughout the season.
- Peep at fall’s colorful foliage. Walk, run, hike, bike or horseback ride at local park trails.
- Go for a walk or run on the beach. Beaches are less crowded in the fall and spending time by the water can feel energizing or calming.
- Socialize with friends and family. Gather with friends and family members and go apple picking, pumpkin harvesting, or check out fall fairs and flea markets in your area.
- Visit a lake. Kayak, canoe or paddle board. These activities can give you a kickass full-body workout.
3. Integrate movement into your life
You may not always have time to hit the gym or go outside for an organized fitness session. Plan how you can make movement part of your day. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Park farther away from your destination. This will increase your daily step count.
- Skip the elevators. Always take the stairs.
- Get outside regularly. Schedule time to walk in your neighborhood in the morning or early evening. Make this part of your daily routine.
- Walk during lunch. Make the most of your lunch break with a walk.
- Turn your commute into a fitness session. Cycle, walk or run to work or school.
- Move during kids’ events. Parents and grandparents: Take advantage of kids’ sports’ practices and games and move during these activities. While your children/grandkids play, walk or run around the field/track or do some squats, lunges and pushups. It may not seem like much at the time, but incorporating exercise every time your kid has a game or practice quickly adds up.
- Rake leaves or stack wood. Raking and stacking wood burns a ridiculous amount of calories and works your entire body – especially your upper body and core! Don’t have leaves or wood? Help a friend or neighbor in their yard.
- Schedule walking meetings. Host walk and talk meetings with coworkers and clients.
4. Participate in community events
- Follow community news. Sign up for your town’s newspaper or digital newsletter to stay in the loop of what’s happening and when.
- Sign up for races, walks and triathlons. Train for these events and use them as motivation to stay active.
- Volunteer to help set-up and run the event. If you don’t want to physically participate in a local event, help with its operations. This will make you get up early, move and interact with members of your community.
5. Layer up
The change in season brings a temperature shift. Depending on where you live, temperatures may gradually decrease or drastically dip over the next couple of months. As you plan outdoor activities, keep this in mind and plan ahead. Always check the weather report before you go outside and make sure you have the proper gear ready.
- Layer your clothing. Your base layer should be breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that wicks away sweat so you don’t become drenched and chilled. Make the second layer your warmth later. The third layer should protect your from the elements – think windbreaker or vest for the wind and water resistant or waterproof shell for rain.
- Be careful not to overdress. You may feel chilly at first, but depending on your intensity, your body may quickly warm up once you start moving.
- For cold morning activities, consider wearing a hat, buff and/or gloves. Hats insulate your head where you lose the most heat from your body. Buffs are versatile and can keep your neck, hear and ears warm. Gloves protect your fingers from the cold elements.
6. Be prepared for darkness
One of the best ways to enjoy joy fall fitness is to exercise outdoors. Fall days are shorter, which means it stays dark later in the morning and gets darker earlier in the evening. It is important to plan ahead. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to exercise outside and the safer you will be.
- Set aside your fitness clothing and gear before your activity. You can do this the night before.
- Wear a reflective vest, carry a flashlight (or wear a headlamp) and wear reflective footwear and clothing. This gear is essential for early morning or evening outdoor activities.
- Add lights to the front of your bike and/or helmet when cycling. This keeps you safe on the roads.
- Use school tracks and trails. This is a great way to avoid vehicle traffic.
- Work out at the same time every day. This helps drivers get used to seeing you.
- Always tell someone where you will be.
- Carry a cell phone. An emergency can happen at any time.
- Walk with a friend or family member. Having a buddy by your side helps you stay safe.
- Don’t forget sunglasses. Fall sun can be blinding.
7. Team up with a buddy (or buddies)
Working out with a friend or family member (kids, spouse, parent, etc.) can be motivating and fun. It is also more safe than workout out solo. Find some people you’d like to move with and create a schedule with them. This will help you stay consistent and motivated with your fall fitness activities.
- Find a walking or running partner. Commit to a schedule where you and your buddy meet up x amount of times per week.
- Join a local fitness bootcamp class with friends.
- Take a cycling class with friends. Check out cycling studios like SoulCycle.
- Participate in a semi-private fitness training class. Small group fitness classes (1-4 people) are a fun way to fit in a workout with friends.
- Get a friend to road cycle with you or join a cycling meet-up group. Ask your local bike shop if they offer group rides.
- Join a hiking meet-up group in your area.
- Spend time with your furry friend. Dogs are great walking and hiking companions and love fall’s cooler weather. If you don’t have a dog, borrow a friend’s pup or combine fitness and $$ by offering to walk neighbors’ dogs.
8. Turn TV time into movement time
Fall is a popular time for new seasons of TV shows to air. If there are programs that you can’t live without, turn each TV date into a fitness session. Here are some ways you can combine your favorite TV show with fitness:
- Complete a bodyweight circuit during a 30-minute show.
- Elevate your heart rate during commercials. Think jumping jacks, running in place, burpees, stepping over and under, side shuffles, crawls, jumping squats, etc.
- Buy a 2×4 board and keep it in your TV room. During your show and/or commercials, perform balance exercises on the board. An intermediate-level exercise to try is the balancing tripod transition.
- Perform the deep-squat, rocking push-up ladder workout during your show. No equipment needed!
9. Get creative
Exercise doesn’t always have to be organized and planned. You can turn just about anything you do into fitness – just add movement. Here are some creative ideas:
- Dance. Shake your hips and move your booty while you clean the house.
- Bounce. Bop to some music while cleaning and putting away dishes.
- Balance. Balance on one foot while brushing you teeth in the morning and at night.
- Crawl around the house. I’m serious. Crawl from one room to another – crawling is an amazing movement that works your entire body, especially your stomach and shoulders.
- Install a pull-up bar in a doorway inside your house. Every time you pass through the door, do some pull-ups!
- Randomly do planks, squats, jumping jacks, burpees and pushups. You can be almost anywhere to do these – in your house, on a plane, in a parking lot and on a trail. Do 30 seconds here and 5-10 reps there every day and these will add up to big gains!
- Turn a deck of cards into a workout. Trust me, this will kick. your. butt!
10. Invest in an activity tracker
Using a fitness tracker may help you stay committed to your fall fitness program. Seeing your progress and competing against friends and family by using the tracker’s apps can make working out fun and motivating. Just be careful not to be sucked down into the rabbit hole of tracker-obsession. Some people find that activity trackers can be all too consuming and distracting. Some popular activity trackers of 2018 include:
- Fitbit Charge 2
- Fitbit Versa
- Fitbit Alta HR
- Fitbit Ionic
- Garmin VivoActive 3
- Garmin VivoSmart 4
- Misfit Ray
- Motiv Ring
- Garmin Forerunner 35
- Garmin fēnix 5
11. Keep an activity log and food journal
Record your daily movement, what you eat, and how much you eat. When you record this data, you may find that you will make better choices with habits and nutrition. Write this data in a paper journal or use an app like MyFitnessPal.
- Recording progress may help you notice patterns. For example, you may notice the days you don’t exercise are also the days you eat poorly. If you see this, you can then readjust and take appropriate action.
- Seeing progress and consistency on paper or a screen can be very motivating and help you push forward on days when you feel like throwing in the towel.
12. Stock up on in-season produce
Healthy nutrition is an essential component to your fitness plan. Eating fruits and vegetables that are at their peak will help you save money and consume the highest quality of vitamins and minerals.
- Find out what produce is in-season this time of the year. Add these items to your grocery list and use these ingredients to cook healthy seasonal meals.
- Visit apple orchards to get local, fresh apples. Doing so combines both fitness and nutrition!
13. Rejuvenate yourself
Fall is a great time to rejuvenate not just your body, but your mind too. Take a holistic approach to wellness, and participate in activities that promote relaxation. Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Meditate for 10 minutes each day. Try standing (or seated) meditation.
- Take an art or music class. Or draw, paint and play music at home.
- Write in a daily journal.
- Participate in a daily gratitude challenge. Create a positive daily ritual by writing in a gratitude journal.
- Treat yourself to therapeutic massage.
- Take a salt bath. Epsom salt baths help relax and recover tired and sore muscles.
- Improve flexibility and mobility with tools. Use tools like foam rollers, The Stick, balls, muscle stimulators, Theracanes and bands.
- Practice positive thinking every day. Try the positive attitude challenge.
14. Switch it up
Avoid fall fitness boredom and plateaus. Keep your fall fitness program fresh by switching up your activities and exercises.
- Vary your routines. Regularly change up your strength and conditioning programs. Change your workouts, exercises, reps, weights, tempo and intensity.
- Skip an outdoor workout and opt for something inside instead. Consider doing a spin class, group fitness class, personal training session, bootcamp class or a workout from a smartphone app.
- Change your activity. If you are always running, change your routine by sprinkling in some cycling and resistance training workouts here and there.
- Motivate with music and podcasts. Find upbeat music or inspirational podcasts to keep you energized during your workouts. Switch these out often to keep things interesting and fun.
15. Strive for commitment, convenience and consistency
A key to a successful fitness program is having commitment, convenience and consistency. As you progress with your fall fitness program, remind yourself of these “three C’s”:
- Commitment: Just like you plan your meetings, work schedule, dinners, kids’ activities, you need to plan your daily/weekly movement. Put all of your fitness activities onto your calendar and commit to them like you commit to other things in your life.
- Convenience: To be successful with a program, there needs to be convenience. If possible, choose a gym thats less that 15-20 minutes away, select activities you can do at home or near your home (within walking distance or a short drive), and do your activities at times when you’re not likely to be interrupted. Prepare snacks and meals ahead of time, so that you can conveniently grab them when busy or quickly reheat them when hungry.
- Consistency: Revisit your goals and create a realistic plan that you can be consistent with. If need be, break it down. Often, working out every day for 10-15 minutes a day is better than working out for one hour every month.
16. Be realistic
Set realistic expectations for yourself and never expect perfection. You may find that exercise will be more difficult in the colder months than it was during the summer. Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
- If your expectations are too high, you will place too much pressure on yourself. Not only will this make fitness not fun, but it may also set you up for failure and feelings of inadequacy. Be kind to yourself throughout your fitness program. Patience pays off!
- Accept that some days the weather or your busy schedule will derail a workout. Remind yourself this is okay. Rest is sometimes better than working out! Adjusting course and shifting fitness and nutrition plans is completely normal and part of the process.
- Missing one opportunity to perform a workout will not greatly affect progress. Occasionally skipping a workout or not sticking to your nutrition plan here and there has low to no measurable impact on your long-term habits. It doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process. Habits are formed when there is a slow and steady accumulation of many small triumphs throughout a period of time.
- You don’t have to be perfect. Slip ups will happen. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and develop strategies for getting back on track quickly.
17. Stay patient and results will come
If you are trying to establish healthy habits that will help you achieve long-term health, fitness and nutrition results, do your best to stay patient during this fall fitness journey. Creating long-lasting lifestyle change takes time. You most likely won’t notice much change at first.
If you want to set your expectations appropriately, know that it may take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build and a sustainable new behavior into your life – not the often cited 21 days. The longer you stick with a program, the easier it will be to continue with it after the fall season. The important take away message from all of this is: don’t quit after a few weeks of a program.
- It can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form new habits. On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior or habit becomes automatic. That’s about 66 days!
- How long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely. Behavior, the habit’s complexity, the person, and the circumstances all influence the length of time in which this takes place.
Don’t let the end of summer stop your movement. I’ve given you 17 tips for fall fitness. All you need to do is choose what appeals to you, make a plan and start moving today! Accept that some days won’t go according to plan – find peace with that by finding a strategy that helps your get back on track… and keep up the forward momentum. If you have any questions along your health and fitness journey, please let me know. 🙂
Talk to me
What do you think about my 17 tips for fall fitness?
- How do you stay motivated with movement throughout the fall season?
- What’s your favorite fall fitness activity?
- What’s your least favorite fall fitness activity?
When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.