Outdoor Fall Fitness and Wellness for the Entire Family
By Carol Kutik
Fall is one of the best times of the year for outdoor exercise and play. The summer heat has dissipated; the air is crisp; leaves are transforming into canopies of orange, gold, and red; and fall gardens are abundant with brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Whether you are beginning a fitness and wellness plan or looking for new and different opportunities to remain fit, there is hardly a better time of year to keep yourself and your family busy and healthy.
Take Advantage of Fall Weather and Activities
Walking, hiking, pushing and cycling are even more enjoyable when the temperature is lower and the scenery is at its most beautiful. Here are a few creative ideas for getting outdoors during autumn.
- Turn leaf-raking and other fall yard work into fun family activities.
- Pick pumpkins or apples at a local farm or orchard.
- Take a stroll along a haunted trail or through a corn maze.
- Take a weekend vacation to the beach; it’s more affordable off-season and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is a bit cooler.
- Check your local newspaper for community fun runs and events. Turkey trots, jingle bell walks, Halloween runs, and other themed activities can make getting fit more enjoyable.
- Try accessible parks and trails in your area that you haven’t yet explored. Visit your city or state parks and recreation website.
Varying weather calls for flexible clothing needs. Be prepared with layers that can be adjusted if the temperature changes. Keep your head and hands warm, as those areas lose heat easily. Even though you may not feel as thirsty in cooler weather, staying hydrated is just as important as when you are under the hot sun. Fluid also helps in exercise recovery and appetite control. As the fall sun rises later in the mornings and goes down earlier each night, remember to be smart and safe. Use a reflective vest and carry a flashlight when you are outside at night, or at dusk or dawn.
Put Fall Colors in Your Diet
Fall provides a bountiful harvest of healthful produce, so it’s an opportune time to work on healthy eating habits. How about planting a garden as a fun family activity? Indulge in pumpkin, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, beans, broccoli and cauliflower. They are packed with Vitamins A and C – antioxidants to help the body ward off illness. Choosing locally grown foods will give you and your family the most nutritional punch since the time between picking and eating is shorter. Freeze what you can’t eat right away so that you can enjoy them throughout the winter. You can read more on eating healthily for the season in this month’s Nutritional Spotlight.
Staying fit and eating healthfully is a great way to ward off holiday pounds. Don’t wait until the new year to make promises for the year ahead. Get started early with the beauty of autumn as your guide.