Enjoy the benefits of staying active in cool weather
Just because the weather is getting cooler and the days shorter doesn’t mean your fitness routine should shorten, too. Maybe you fell off the wagon a little over the summer or broke your routine. Fall and winter are great seasons to get moving again or to start something new. You can reap the benefits of staying active even in cold weather.
Motivation for staying active
From building strength to managing diabetes, the benefits of staying active cannot be overstated. You already know exercise is good for your heart and waistline, but it also helps you manage stress and may boost your immune system. Between work demands, kids’ activities and school events, travel plans, and spending time with extended family, this time of year can get pretty stressful. Exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies and increases endorphins, the hormones responsible for boosting mood, according to Harvard Medical School. Regular, moderate exercise may also boost your immune system, helping you fight off respiratory infections, suggests Medline.
Set yourself on a course for the rest of the year
It’s easy to fall into a slump around the holidays, with Halloween candy everywhere, followed by Thanksgiving and holiday-season goodies. By committing to a routine now, you’re better prepared to get over the holiday slump and may have more confidence when it comes to shopping for your holiday outfits.
The first step is to set a realistic goal. This doesn’t have to center on weight or size. Your goal may be to get active for 15 minutes every day, or to do a high-intensity exercise for 30 minutes three days a week. Maybe you just want to maintain your dress size through New Year’s. Whatever your goal, write it down and place it somewhere prominent.
Running. With mild weather, you’re likely to find a lot of 5k races nearby, giving you a goal to work toward. If you’re new to running, download a couch-to-5k app. These mix running and walking, allowing you to build up slowly and at your own pace.
Cycling. Biking is another great fall activity. Get the whole family involved with a nightly ride around the neighborhood after dinner or find a greenway on weekends where you can see the changing foliage.
Skiing or snowboarding. Hit the slopes this winter for some great exercise. Take the whole family or treat yourself to a lesson.
Join a gym. Maybe the outdoors isn’t your thing. Try joining a gym and taking some group fitness classes. Bring your running or cycling routine inside on the worst days. Fall is a great time to join: The crowds are much smaller than if you wait until New Year’s, giving you a chance to get comfortable in class or on the machines.
Be adventurous. Try something entirely new. Maybe you’d like to give boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a chance. Ever wondered if you’d like Crossfit or indoor rock climbing? Search your area for something new. Most places will let you try a class for free or pay per session before joining.
Keep moving. Exercise doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, and you can work it in as a family. Spending most of Saturday watching the kids’ soccer games? Walk around the complex during or between games rather than remaining seated. With the kids back in school, they may be anxious for more activity as well. Take a weekend hike or go ice skating.
Just because the weather turns cool doesn’t mean there’s less to do. You might just need to find a new routine for everyone to stay motivated.
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