Fall Into Fitness

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Research shows that seasons can have a direct effect on your physical activity.
For many people, staying active and remaining motivated about fitness during the fall months can be a difficult task.  The transition from warm summer days to the cool autumn season often brings about a change in routine for individuals. Whether that change includes going back to school, participating in a team sport, or planning for the holidays, chances are your life suddenly becomes busier during this time of year.
With these hectic and overwhelming schedules fall can bring, it can be harder to find the time to stay active.  Helen Jones, a regional nutrition agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems gives some quick tips on how to cultivate a healthy lifestyle this fall season.

EIGHT EASY FALL FITNESS TIPS

Take advantage of the weather.
Embrace the cool fall temperatures by getting outside to perform your physical activities.  “It’s a good time to get out, move around and go for a walk,” said Jones.
Whitney Hornbuckle, a busy mother of two, supported Jones’ advice.  “I get excited about the fall, especially in southern Alabama, because we don’t have many months of extreme cold,” said Hornbuckle. “I like to call the fall ‘running season’ because there are so many organized races in the months of September through March.”
Relive Your Childhood Activities.
“Think of things you used to do when you were smaller, those are some things you can do to increase your physical activity,” said Jones.  Try revisiting a hobby from your childhood such as jumping rope or hula hooping. Think outside of the box when it comes to finding ways to stay active.  The less mundane the activity is, the more likely you will stick with it.
Find an exercise class.
If the gym is not your preferred workout environment, Jones encouraged finding an exercise class that you enjoy. Many local gyms, recreation centers and fitness studios offer a variety of group exercise classes. Cooperative Extension agents can also help a group of people get a fitness group started for you and a group of friends and neighors. Building a community around your workouts can help hold you accountable.
Incorporate your friends and family.
Ask your friends and family to participate in physical activity with you, such as taking a walk around the block after dinner together. It is important to have a workout partner to encourage you and keep you focused on your fitness goals.  Hornbuckle believes that having her friends and family join her in her workout routines has been essential in keeping her motivated.
Get up earlier.
If you have a difficult time trying to fit fitness in to your daily routine, Jones advised starting your day earlier. “You have to make physical activity part of your daily life,” said Jones.  As a busy mom of two, Hornbuckle agrees that you have to be intentional about finding time to be active.  “With two boys still practically babies (1 and 2 years old), finding time to exercise is a daily discipline that requires careful planning,” said Hornbuckle.
Exercise while watching T.V.
During the fall many T.V. shows will launch season premieres. Try getting in your daily exercise while watching one of your favorite shows with simple exercises.  “When you get ready to watch it do some kind of physical activity, even if it’s no more than just running in place or doing some leg lifts,” said Jones.
Cut out at least 30 minutes a day.
According to Jones, studies show that even just 30 minutes a day of physical activity can be beneficial to your health. The key is to find small ways to incorporate this activity throughout your daily routine.  If Hornbuckle is not able to make it to a CrossFit class or go for a run outside, she finds other ways to incorporate fitness into her activities at home.  “I will take the baby monitor outside into the carport and get a CrossFit type workout done during nap time,” said Hornbuckle. “I also really love using my Pure Barre DVDs and Jillian Michael’s Yoga Melt Down on YouTube.”
Change your route.
If you spend most of your day in a building such as an office or classroom, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator for a change.  “For example, if you work on the eighth floor, try taking the steps to the third floor then get on the elevator if you can’t make it all the way to the eighth floor on the steps,” said Jones.  Making small changes in your daily routine can result in big differences in your health.

Written By

Photo of Ellen OwensEllen OwensCounty Extension Director (252) 338-3954 ellen_owens@ncsu.eduPasquotank County, North Carolina
Posted on Sep 8, 2017
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