How many New Year’s Eves have you spent sipping champagne and vowing to get more fit in the coming year? And how many times have you failed to follow through? December 31 over a drink is too late to set goals and make.
Fall, on the other hand, is a great time to start a fitness program because you’re going to create good habits for the holiday season and the upcoming winter months. With the change of seasons comes a renewed time to rethink and restart.
Here are 10 ways to start making the most of the season. And who knows? This year, you might be in great shape before that New Year’s Eve party rolls around.
1. Take advantage of the weather. Fall can be a treat for the senses: the crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin carving, a gorgeous canopy of fall foliage, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. These months are a great time to exercise outdoors and enjoy cooler temperatures. Walking, hiking and cycling are all awesome in the fall. Raking leaves or doing some fall outdoor yard work is a great way to get the heart pumping, and it’s great calorie-burning
2. Think outside the box. Always wanted to learn to tap dance? Try indoor cycling classes? What about pilates reformer classes? Master the jump rope? Ask any schoolchild: Fall is a great time to learn something new. Many classes at gyms and elsewhere get started in the fall, so look around and see if something intrigues you. And with the kids in school, parents have more time to check out new classes. Don’t be intimated….take a step toward a better you! Fall is the perfect time to gain new physical skills, although you burn fewer calories when you begin a new activity (thanks to the learning curve). If you learn something new now, by next summer, you’ll have mastered the skill — and you’ll burn more calories doing it, just in time for swimsuit season.
3. Be an active TV watcher. Many people get geared up for fall premieres of their favorite television shows. If you’re going to sit down and watch hours of TV, get moving. Make a date with exercise and TV. While you watch, you can walk or run in place, do standing lunges, do tricep dips off the couch, or lift weights. During commercials, do push-ups or sit-ups. In a one-hour show, you probably have close to 20 minutes worth of commercial interruption. While watching sit on a stability ball – use your core and do leg lifts!
4. Integrate exercise into your life. You already know the obvious suggestions: park farther away from your destination; take stairs instead of elevators; take a walk during your lunch break. Here are a few that are less obvious:
- If you’re spending the afternoon taking kids to soccer practice, instead of reading a book or visiting with another parent, why not walk around the outside of the field while they practice?
- You can even get moving while you get motivated — for fitness or other life goals. Get some inspirational music or find a motivational talk and download it to your iPod. Walk while you listen for 30 minutes.
5. Rejuvenate yourself. Fall is the time to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Get a massage after your cycle. Learn to meditate. Take an art class. Treat yourself not just with exercise but other activities that promote wellnes. Feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
6. Remember the 30-day rule. It takes about four weeks for the body to adapt to lifestyle change. That’s why people who give up on their fitness programs tend to do so within the first 30 days. So, when the alarm goes off in the morning and it’s darker and colder, don’t roll over and hit the snooze button. After a month, behavior patterns will have adapted and it will be much easier to stick with it after that.
7. Strive for the 3 Cs. Commitment, convenience, and consistency First, exercise takes commitment. When a client complains about a lack of time, we say: “Tell me something I haven’t heard before. We’re all busy; that’s just part of our lives. You have to start planning exercise, just like you do everything else; like meetings, dinners, and getting kids to lessons and practice. Put in on the calendar, because later always turns into never. Using our online scheduler forces our clients to commit to their fitness reservation. The system takes into consideration the client’s busy life and reserves a reformer or bike just for them…no more lines in the gym! Convenience means choosing a gym that’s close by, or an activity you can do at home, or a time when you’re not likely to be interrupted. Finally, there’s consistency. I’d rather see a brand-new client work out for 10 minutes a day rather than one hour every month. If you have to, take baby steps and build up to that 50 minute class. Try one of our combo classes that breaks down the amount of time devoted to one activity and also gives a great overall workout.
8. Deal with darkness. It is getting darker earlier, and staying dark later in the morning, so be smart and safe.
9. Dress in layers. When exercising outside, layer your clothing. Before your body warms up, you may feel chilled, but once the blood gets pumping, you’ll feel overdressed. The inner layer should be a moisture-wicking fabric, so it wicks away sweat and you’re not chilled. The second layer should be a warmth layer depending on the weather.
10. Find your motivation. People are motivated by different things. It’s important to first discover what your individual goals are, whether it’s weight loss, strengthening and toning, or preparing for a race or event….zone in on your motivation and use it to keep you committed. Put up post it notes of motivational words – put them in your car, on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet….anywhere that will help you focus on your goal and remind you of the success you expect of yourself.
But goals aren’t enough to get you there; you have to be motivated by the day-to-day workout . So choose something you’ll enjoy doing and will be likely to keep up, whether it’s walking or hiking with a friend, working with an instructor in a private setting or taking part in a pilates or cycling class. Creating a challenge for yourself will motivate you, as will encouragement and accountability, Remember too, that anything worth having takes work.
Being great is not easy…but it is worth it…because you are worth it!