Research shows it’s common for many people to gain weight during the cooler months, due to increased calorie intake, decreased physical activity, and/or a lack of energy due to shorter, darker days. And we tend to hold onto that extra weight throughout the following year.
That’s why autumn is a great time to start a new or more rigorous exercise regimen. Here are 5 of the best exercises for the fall season. These fitness ideas will help you keep your energy up, maintain a healthy weight, and feel better all season long.
Fall fitness ideas: 5 Best exercises for the fall season
Walking is a wonderful, low-impact exercise with substantial health benefits. Research shows that walking just 30 minutes a day can boost your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and increase muscle endurance and strength.
It’s also a preventive measure against health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, as well as supporting mental health and banishing seasonal blues. And during the cooler months, you can walk further without overheating. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and some warm clothes.
Some studies suggest that walking immediately after eating can be particularly beneficial for weight loss by increasing metabolic rates and utilizing more calories from your meals. But taking a routine morning walk can also be a great way to start the day on a positive note.
Like walking, hiking is a great, low-impact exercise that supports healthy weight maintenance and reduces your risk of chronic diseases while letting you enjoy time out in nature.
Unlike walking around the block or your neighborhood park, hiking generally involves specialized trails with varied elevation levels and terrains. This adds an element of strength training and balance-building to your workout–especially if you’re wearing a backpack.
The cooler fall weather allows you to explore longer and more advanced trails, offering extra benefits of breathtaking views and, most likely, fewer mosquito bites. Check nearby state parks or local preserves for picturesque and well-maintained trails, many of which may be ideal even for beginners.
Just remember to wear proper hiking shoes, stay hydrated, and be aware of your surroundings.
If you’re looking for a more vigorous workout, running is a great fall fitness idea with huge benefits. According to some studies, running just five to 10 minutes a day at slow speeds is linked to healthy weight maintenance and significantly reduced risks of death from all causes.
Fall may be the best season for new runners, since milder temperatures and vibrant scenery can be a motivating distraction during intense cardiovascular exercise. If you’re just starting out, make sure to pace yourself to prevent cramps and strains.
And if you want to make running even more enjoyable, consider joining a local Fun Run. These often themed events are hugely popular in the fall season.
Ranging from Thanksgiving Turkey Trots to charity half-marathons, these events can provide a fun way to stay active, vary your routine, and socialize with your community. Many neighborhoods also sponsor residents’ running clubs.
Another fun way to exercise in the fall is weight training or resistance training–plus, it’s great for your health.
Studies show that just 30 to 60 minutes of strength training a week may lower your risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, or any other cause by 10% to 20%. And you don’t have to join a gym to reap the rewards.
If you’d rather workout from home, you can invest in a pair of dumbbells to get started. Some basic exercises you can do at home with dumbbells include:
- Bicep curls
- Tricep curls
- Bench presses (you’ll need a bench or table for this one)
Make sure to familiarize yourself with proper technique before doing these exercises for the first time. There are tons of blogs and YouTube videos out there that will show you how to do a safe and effective strength-training workout at home.
While apple picking isn’t a “workout” in the traditional sense, it’s a fun fall activity that can help you work more movement into your day with short bursts of intensity. It requires walking, overhead stretching, twists, and forward bends–all of which are great for mobility and cardiovascular health.
You can even establish a family tradition of apple picking to strengthen connections with loved ones. Not to mention, it’ll encourage you to eat more apples, which are known to lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar, and support greater longevity.
Engaging in different types of movements outdoors can boost your overall fitness levels and well-being. In fact, studies show that outdoor activities like apple picking are linked with greater energy and positive feelings, as well decreased tension.
These fall fitness ideas can help you avoid gaining unwanted pounds and feeling sluggish this season. And if it’s too cold to venture outdoors where you live, in addition to strength training, you may want to try indoor exercises like yoga, pilates, or even using an elliptical machine to banish weight gain and seasonal blues.
Also, consider varying your workouts to get better results and reduce monotony in your routine. The best exercises are the ones you genuinely enjoy, as you’re more likely to stick with them. So try some different activities that resonate with you and keep moving.