Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.
With the cooler weather and leaves starting to change color, the fall is a great time to be active outdoors. Walking, biking, jogging and hiking are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors and improve your fitness.
Here is one important question to ask yourself honestly:
Are you (a) getting in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week OR (b) getting in 25 minutes of strenuous exercise three days a week?
Moderate exercise is akin to pushing a stroller, biking 5 miles in 30 minutes, shooting baskets, playing touch football, raking leaves, or vigorous social dancing.
Heart-pumping strenuous exercise is more along the lines of swimming laps, jogging/running, jumping rope, shoveling snow, or climbing stairs.
Fitness is a life-long habit to start forming today, and regular aerobic exercise has many health benefits from protecting your heart, boosting your mood, raising your energy levels and even improving cognitive function!
Whether you’re an early riser or prefer evening workouts, stay safe when exercising in the dark by sticking to well-lit areas and wearing reflective clothing or a headband flashlight.
Remember to stay hydrated! Even though you’ll sweat less when working out in the cooler weather, it is still important to drink water before and after exercise, and definitely bring along a water bottle on longer bouts of exercise.
Finally, have fun! Working out does not have to be painful – in fact, it shouldn’t be! Take your dog out hiking with you, experiment with new activities, and explore new trails and parks to prevent boredom.
If motivation is lacking, try signing up for a race a few weeks/months ahead or making exercise plans with friends. Include your family in your workout routine, whether it’s jogging with a stroller, taking a walk together in the evenings or organizing a family bike ride on the weekends. You won’t have to sacrifice family time or your health, and you’ll be setting a great example for your kids.
By making exercise a regular and enjoyable part of your life this fall, it will become a healthy (and helpful) habit by the time holiday season strikes.
So – what’s your favorite way to exercise outdoors?