Now that it’s almost autumn, the weather may be getting too cold for some outdoor activities like swimming and beach volleyball, but that doesn’t mean you have to move all your workouts to the gym. This time of year has perfect temperatures for exercising al fresco, and the beautiful foliage and crisp cooler air makes being outdoors a real treat for the senses.
Don’t “fall” back on your fitness goals. Here are some tips on how to keep a healthy workout momentum during the autumn months.
5 Tips for Fall Fitness
Try something new
The arrival of fall can be bittersweet since some of your summer go-to workouts may have to be shelved temporarily. To stay motivated, try some outdoor activities you have never done before. Head to the hills and rent a mountain bike. Visit a park you’ve never been to before and hike a trail. Take a few horseback riding lessons. Participate in a 5k or obstacle course competition. Changing up your routine can challenge your body and prevent boredom, and you might even discover a new favorite thing to do.
Get the gang together
Fall is a great time to get a group of friends or family together for some outdoor fun. Play a friendly game of softball, flag football or basketball. Sign up for a charitable walk/run as a team. Find a tennis partner and hit the court. Even finding your way out of a corn maze can be a form of fitness. Turn your workout into a social event!
Dress in layers
As the temps drop, it is important to dress properly so that your muscles and your core body temperature stay warm. Cold muscles are more at risk for getting injured. The key to dressing for cool weather workouts is to dress in light layers.
- Your base layer should be made of a fabric that wicks away moisture. Good fabrics for this include polypropylene, silk or a wool/cotton blend. Do not wear a 100% cotton garment such as a T-shirt. Cotton absorbs perspiration and will stick to your body and make you feel colder.
- The next layer should insulate to preserve warmth. Loosely fitting fleece, polar fleece or loose weave wool tops are good choices.
- The outer layer should be water-resistant and protect against wind, rain and snow. Breathable, polyester-blend fabrics are recommended.
Remember to hydrate
Even if you might not be sweating as much since the temperatures are lower, you still need to stay well hydrated. Hydration will help you perform at your best and ward off dehydration which can lead to many problems including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Drinking water is best, but there are other sources for staying hydrated as well, such as fruits and vegetables. John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and an American Heart Association volunteer, said in an American Heart Association article, “It’s healthier to drink water while you’re exercising, and then when you’re done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, bananas or a small handful of unsalted nuts.”
Protect your skin
Yes, you still need to wear sunscreen in the fall. Protecting yourself from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays is important year-round. Sunscreen should be worn every day – even on cloudy days — to help prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” since those offer both UVA and UVB protection.
Stay healthy and achieve your fitness goals by keeping up with your workouts through every season. Good luck and have fun!
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog page is to promote understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care or fitness regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.