This year Indiana was spoiled with weather that was 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit leading up to the first week of fall, but we all knew those temperatures weren’t going to last forever. Fall has fully kicked in and it is officially time to swap out your tank tops and shorts for sweatshirts and your favorite pair of jeans or sweatpants.
With the change in weather, it may take some adjusting to the chillier mornings and crisp evenings. Those temperature drops can make it more challenging to exercise outdoors and much easier to get caught up in your favorite fleece blanket on the couch while watching your favorite Netflix show. Don’t let the cooler temperatures prevent you from staying fit and healthy this fall; instead use this time as an opportunity to challenge yourself or try something new!
Staying fit this fall season
If you had a strong start to the year and want to keep the momentum going into the fall and winter, there are many ways you can do that. If you are on the other end of the spectrum and had a slower start in staying or becoming fit in the first half of the year, it’s okay! The time to get fit and work on you is now. No matter where your fitness level is heading into the fall and winter seasons, you can still participate in the same fun activities to help increase or continue your fitness level. Check out the ideas below.
Go to a park – If you have kids or pets, you know how beneficial a park can be for using up their energy without feeling like you’re exercising! This fall, bundle up and take your kids to a park near you. Instead of letting them entertain themselves or play with their siblings or friends, become a kid again yourself and participate in the imaginative games they are playing while at the park. Whether that be a game of “the floor is lava” or freeze tag, join in the fun so you can spend quality time with your kids while getting some exercise for yourself outdoors. The same goes for dog parks-- instead of socializing with the other dog parents, run around with your furry friend.
Go on a hike – Indiana may not be home to the Smokey or Rocky Mountains, but it is home to many fun trails around the state. Sometimes when the weather cools off, the list of weekend activities becomes limited. This year make sure to add hiking to that list of fun things to do. Google “hikes in Indiana near me” and you may be surprised with what you find. There may be a trail near you that you may not have known of before. Make your hike a fun day trip and bring lunch to have a picnic while you’re there.
Move more while you’re inside – There are fun ways to stay fit or increase your current fitness level while in the comfort of the indoors. YouTube is full of workout videos for all levels of fitness. The variety of videos online showcase exercises that require no equipment to a simple set of dumbbells that you can purchase on Amazon and receive the next day. Don’t forget you can also look up videos that target specific areas of the body or different types of workouts. Whether you choose cardio, strength or flexibility, you can find it all on that small device you carry with you every day. Start by carving out 15-20 minutes a few times a week and go from there. As you get more comfortable, increase that time and the number of times a week and you’ll be on your way to better fitness levels!
Find a gym near you – During the warmer months we enjoy the outdoors as our gym, but as it cools off it becomes more challenging to gather the motivation to bundle up and go for a walk or run outside. One of the best ways to stay fit is through exercising on a regular basis, and if you are not motivated to exercise outside then it may be time to find a gym near you. During this time of the year, many gyms or fitness centers offer specials for people trying to stay fit or get fit. Many places even offer a free first class so that you can try it out first before you sign up.
How to be healthy this fall season
Health isn’t just about how often you work out. Health includes the food and drinks you put into your body, the amount of sleep you get each night, mental health, social well-being and more. Learn more about well-rounded health below.
What’s your fuel – Instead of calling it your diet, call it your fuel. Humans are somewhat like cars. If you put unleaded gasoline in a car that uses diesel, the car will break down and not be able to do what it’s supposed to do. Another example is if you forget to fill up the gas tank, your car will stop working. The same goes for humans! If you fill yourself with the wrong kinds of food and drink or not enough food or drink, your body may not run how it’s supposed to. Focus on your fuel this fall by trying new healthy recipes that you have been putting off trying. Limit yourself to a few sweet treats a week instead of every night. Little changes can help fuel your body and, in the end, make you a healthier person.
Sleep, sleep, sleep – The amount of sleep you get each night affects your day immediately when you wake up. Think about it. On a night where you slept poorly, you most likely woke up on edge or in a mood that wasn’t quite your best. Sleep can make or break your day’s productivity and it’s important to remember that. Try turning off your phone or turning it on “do not disturb” at a specific time each night. Read instead of scrolling through social media. Try a nighttime tea and essential oils if you find yourself wanting to try something new. Pack your lunch and lay out your outfit before you go to bed so you can set your alarm clock 10 minutes later in the morning to get those extra minutes that are vital to your overall health.
Mental health – First of all, it’s okay to not be okay. But after you recognize you’re not okay it may be time to talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you are comfortable with speaking to a family member or friend, ask them to meet you for coffee on a day neither of you are busy. Not comfortable talking to a family member or friend about your mental health? Consider asking your employer about any therapy programs they may offer or investigate local therapists to start the conversation today. In a world where everything is out there all the time, it’s important to check in with yourself to make sure you are really okay.
Social health – Life can get pretty hectic sometimes and you may find yourself burning the candle at both ends with family obligations and responsibilities. It’s important to find time for you to enjoy the company of friends, too! This fall, call a friend or family member and make plans to grab lunch or dinner on a day both of you are free. Social time with someone who’s not a partner, child or co-worker is good for your social and mental health or if you do choose to do something with a partner, child or co-worker, plan something different than what you normally do to change it up! Variety is the spice of life, remember?
How to stay fit when you have limited time
Sometimes it’s hard to find time to go for a walk or run or do an exercise video during your hectic day. That doesn’t mean you can’t find other creative ways to stay active throughout your day.
Whether you work from home or work in the office, schedule one of your next meetings to be a “walking meeting” outdoors. Not only will it be fun to meet in a different environment than the office or your home office, but you will get steps in during the day when you originally weren’t going to.
If you find yourself stiff from sitting down all day, turn your chair into a stretching assistant. These chair stretches are perfect when you are crunched for time, but also want to become more flexible or recover from yesterday’s exercise activities:
Exercise one: Sit up straight, pull your shoulder blades back and down and hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat five times.
Exercise two: Do five shoulder rolls forward and five rolls backwards.
Exercise three: Scoot to the edge of your chair and put one leg straight and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold it for 30 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
Exercise four: While you are on the edge of your chair, tuck your toes of one leg under your chair and lean back, hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Exercise five: Sit tall in your chair and push your stomach forward and hold for three seconds then arch your back for three seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
If you find yourself with five minutes of free time throughout your day, consider doing this quick and effective five-minute full body workout.
Repeat this circuit twice:
This fall season, make staying fit and healthy or getting fit and healthy your priority. Life can get crazy, and this is your sign to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re being the very best version of yourself. If not, then take these tips into consideration tomorrow and become who you want to be this fall!