Lighten Up: Fun for all this fall

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

As the leaves begin to fall — and thankfully, the temperatures, too — enthusiasm for maintaining those swimsuit physiques often tends to wane. Sure, we’re going to start wearing more layers, but when we shed those sweaters, it’s still nice to be proud of the physique you worked hard to create! The long lazy days of summer are starting to be replaced with new school schedules, work projects, and ever-shortening hours of daylight. However, the need to stay fit and active never takes a vacation, so guess what? This is the time to jump-start your exercise routine, even if getting to the gym may be difficult due to other commitments.

Rather than totally forego your workouts that earned you that sleek and sexy body all summer, we offer up our list of the Top 10 Ways To Stay Fit This Fall! Once again, whether you are looking for weekend family activities, or just something unique to do on your own outside of the gym, these ideas are sure to please:

10. Rake the leaves: As autumn gets underway, the ever-increasing leaves get underfoot! Pick up a rake and get busy…you’d be surprised how many calories you can burn in an hour! As a reward, when you’re finished, permission is granted to dive into that giant leaf pile and relax!!!!

9. Take a walk at dusk: Late fall is the perfect time to take a walk as sunset approaches. The air is crisp and the skies are colorful. Renewing your energy a bit at this point in the evening will perk up your metabolism, and actually facilitate your falling asleep at bedtime!

8. Visit a pumpkin patch: Even if you don’t believe in Charlie Brown’s “Great Pumpkin,” you can still enjoy exploring a vast pumpkin patch out in the country. Walk around until you find your perfect Halloween pumpkin – then do your upper body workout by carrying it back to your car!

7. Enjoy apple-picking: Drive out to a local orchard and pick your own bushel of apples! You’d be surprised how all of that bending and reaching can add up to a decent workout, especially in the fresh air!

6. Are you ready for some football?: Grab a few friends and head out to the nearest open field. Just a half-hour or so of tossing the pigskin will give you an even greater appreciation for what those NFL guys go through every Sunday!!!

5. Join a biking/walking event: Many charities hold walk-a-thon’s and cycling events in the fall. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your exercise while supporting a great cause. You’ll feel good inside and out!

4. Run the bleachers: This is an activity that many understandably put off during the peak of the summer heat. As the weather cools off, however, there are no more excuses!

Your rewards will be improved cardio conditioning and a fabulous backside!!

3. Plan a float trip: While many people associate this with summertime activities, an early fall float trip has its own share of benefits. The rivers are less crowded, there are definitely fewer mosquitoes, and as the leaves start to change color, the trees are beautiful!

2. Take a golf lesson: Autumn is a perfect time to learn to golf! The cooler air makes being out on the course so much more pleasant. Golf provides core conditioning, and plenty of walking….if you don’t ride in a cart!

1. Gardening: Now is the time to plant hardy mums. Squatting to toil the earth can be a great quad workout! Digging, too, works those often-neglected forearms.

There you have it — no excuses for missing out on fitness this fall! As the kids settle into their after-school homework and activities schedules, carve out some time for yourself, even if you can’t make it to the gym. Your body will thank you!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.