I love fall weather. Just stepping outside and feeling the cool, crisp air instead of the humid stickiness of summer instantly energizes me. Now is a great time to switch up your workout routine and take advantage of the nice weather before the chill of winter sets in. There are plenty of exercises you can take outdoors, and some creative activities you can do for a good workout and some fall fun. Here are a few of my favorites:
Hiking, walking and running
Put on your sneakers and a jacket, and you’re off! Burning calories while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the season—and not having to battle bugs or dripping sweat—is one of the best parts of exercising outdoors in the fall. Whether you’re mazing through your own neighborhood or tackling steep terrain on a local trail, the important thing is to get out there, get moving and keep your heart rate up for a good cardio workout.
If you’re stuck at the office all day, try spending half of your lunch hour outside walking—and watch your afternoon energy levels improve! If you’re a mom with kids in after school activities, don’t stand around waiting for practice to end. Walk around the field or through a nearby neighborhood. Be sure to always apply a good-quality sunscreen. Even though it’s chilly, you can still get burned by the sun.
Track and stadium runs
If you live near a high school or college campus, use their track or sports stadium for a workout. Start with a light jog and stretching session to warm up, then jog up and down the stairs a few times. At the track, sprint 50 yards, up and back, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat. Next, do some forward jumps and lunges, repeating to complete several sets. It’s helpful to clip on a pedometer to keep track of how many calories you’ve burned during your workout.
Kayaking and canoeing
Live near a lake? Rent a kayak or canoe and spend an hour or two rowing for an excellent total-body workout. Paddling is not only a perfect aerobic exercise, but you’re strength training your arms, shoulders, back and abs, as well. Bring along plenty of water (I don’t leave home without my CamelBak Podium Chill insulated water bottle!) and some trail mix or a protein bar to snack on if your energy level gets low.
Apple picking, pumpkin patch, corn mazes
Get the whole family moving with a visit to an apple orchard or pumpkin farm. A few hours on your feet exploring the site is a workout in itself, but you can up the intensity by picking up the pace in the corn maze, or exaggerating reaches and bends while picking apples or hauling pumpkins. The best part? You get to bring home delicious fruit and other farm-fresh treats to enjoy! I get my sweet fix by dipping apple slices in Walden Farms Calorie-Free Caramel Dip, and I also love making pumpkin smoothies with real, whole pumpkin (just bake at 400 degrees until soft—about an hour—let cool and scoop out the flesh. Add a small amount to your blender with your favorite smoothie ingredients).
Try something different
Never tried inline skating? New to tennis? Why not give a new outdoor activity a try? The key to sticking with a fitness plan is to participate in activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing. Look for sports or activities available through your local community center, gym or even your library. Even if it’s just once or twice a week—the movement and fresh air will feel great.
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com.