Yes, fall is in the air, but that doesn’t mean you have to start hibernating! There are lots of excellent ways to stay fit and healthy outdoors all year long. Also, I am a big believer in acknowledging the positives—and fall brings lots of positives. The cooler weather means you won’t overheat and getting to witness the leaves changing colour is a true joy.
Continue to walk, run, play tennis, cycle, etc., just amp up your attire.
If you are lucky enough to have found an activity you don’t despise and that is convenient, I suggest sticking with your routine and simply modifying your attire. Finding a workout you can do consistently isn’t easy—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Live by the adage “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
Invest in a few key pieces—things that will make the cooler weather tolerable; a toque, gloves, arm warmers, and a good running jacket are all good investments. Be sure to layer. That way you can start your workout wearing arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves, a hat, a balaclava, etc., then strip back the layers as you warm up. My personal tip: buy an outdoor workout jacket with pockets. Pockets allow you to take off your gloves, arm warmers, or jacket sleeves and store them once you are warmed up.
Also, cultivate a mindset that serves you. Have realistic expectations. It is fall; don’t expect summer weather. Create an internal dialogue that serves you. Self-talk matters. When you want to skip your workout, find things that will get you out the door. I say things like, “Kathleen, you may feel cold at first, but you will warm up quickly.”
Find a set of outdoor stairs. Walk or jog there to warm up. Then run or walk up and down them for 10–20 minutes.
Want to make stairs even more “fun”? Try pyramids. Alternate stairs with a second exercise—think jumping jacks and burpees. Pyramid one or both of the exercises.
Option 1. Keep the stairs the same and pyramid the second exercise. For example, run the stairs 5 times. Do 10 jumping jacks. Repeat the same number of stairs. Then do 20 jumping jacks. Each round, increase the number of jumping jacks by 10 until you get to 50.
Option 2. Pyramid both exercises. For example, run the stairs 2 times. Do 10 jumping jacks. Increase your stairs by 2 sets. Then do 20 jumping jacks. Each time, increase the number of stair sets by 2 and the number of jumping jacks by 10 until you get to 10 sets of stair runs and 50 jumping jacks.
Find the local track and do some “fun” speed walking, jogging, or running intervals.
Try chorus pickups or word cue pickups.
Chorus pickups: First, pick a song. When you hear the chorus, increase your intensity. If you are walking, move into a speed walk or a jog. If you are running, sprint.
Word cue pickups: Again, the first item on the agenda is to pick a song. Second, pick a word that repeats in the song. For example, in Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” I might pick “baby.” Third, pick a motion—think high knees, bum kicks, or an increase in speed. Start walking, jogging, etc. When you hear your word, do your motion. If you don’t train with music, try using landmarks. For example, do high knees or a 10 second sprint every time you pass someone in black pants or every time you pass a certain landmark on the track.
Find the fall FUN!
Don’t be upset about the new season … embrace it! The weather is changing whether you like it or not. You might as well highlight the positives and find things you actually enjoy!
Go for walks and take a moment to look at the changing colours. Embrace the slightly cooler weather; it can be a good thing. The heat can be exhausting, not to mention dangerous. Enjoy the breeze and the fresh air.
Find things you enjoy, or at least that you don’t hate. Love tennis? Find a wall and play “wall ball” or recruit a friend and play a match. Love basketball? Go shoot some hoops. Ultimate frisbee? Take your family to the park! Love podcasts? Listen to one as you walk, jog, or skip.
Consider a “family challenge.”
Be creative. Base the parameters of the challenge on the number and age of your kids and their interests. Maybe get your family out playing tennis, walking, playing ultimate frisbee, or soccer in the local park. Maybe each family member counts how many steps they take throughout the day or how many workouts they did through the week. The winner gets to pick family movie night or have their favourite meal delivered.
Remember, hope is not a viable strategy, and a fitness wish is not the same thing as a fitness goal. It is all well and good to decide on your fun fall fitness plans, but to turn those “fitness wishes” into your reality you have to make a schedule.
If you don’t consciously create a plan of action and schedule in your workouts, chances are, you will take the path of least resistance—a path likely filled with Netflix and wine!
Schedule in your workouts! Block off time. Decide—in advance—the WWWH of your workouts. What will you do? Skip outside? Jog at the local track? When will you do it? Morning? At lunch? Where will you do it? The backyard? The local park? How will you make it happen? What accommodations do you need to make? Does your spouse have to watch the kids? Do you need to block yourself out of Zoom meetings? Then do it!