Our Top 3 Fall Fitness Tips

Nobody likes getting out of a warm, snuggly bed in the morning — especially when it’s still dark outside and the morning air is cool. But studies show that the morning hours are the best time for a workout and the change in season could be just the thing you need to get fit. Let us help you fall into fitness with our top three tips.

It’s October, and that means it’s official: fall is here. The warmth and sunshine of the summer months has given way to crisp, cool weather. It’s the perfect time of year to hunker down under warm sweaters and soft blankets and hibernate, right?

Not so fast. The change in season could be just the thing you need to get started on a fall fitness plan. Build momentum now and it’ll carry you through the winter months. The results? A trim physique, strong muscles, and boundless energy — just in time for spring.

If that piques your interest, you’ll love our top three fitness tips designed to help you get up, get out, and get healthy this fall.

Tip #1: Take Advantage of the Great Outdoors

Western New York boasts some of the most amazing fall foliage in the country and October is a great time to take it all in. Let your fall fitness plan take you into the Great Outdoors!

October is a great time for a hike. Cool weather, crisp breezes, and no bugs. Looking for great places to hike? Hit the trails at Zoar Valley, Allegany State Park, Letchworth State Park, Devil’s Hole at the Niagara Gorge, Pfeiffer Nature Center, Rock City Park, and Chestnut Ridge Park — and that’s just for starters!

If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, you can enjoy a number of fitness benefits from walking. (In this post, we break them down for you and show you how to choose the right walking gear.) Get up a bit early and take a few laps around the block or enjoy an after-dinner walk. Better yet, plan some fall activities — like a trip to see the foliage or to pick apples — and incorporate walking into them.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention those pesky October Surprises — early-season snowstorms that creep up on Western New York and dump snow everywhere. But snowstorms don’t have to bring your fitness plan to a screeching halt. Shoveling is a great workout (we know, we know) and don’t forget about cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Even pulling the kids in a sled can be a great workout!

Tip #2: Layers aren’t just for blankets

If you think temperatures under 60° F qualify as “arctic,” you’re not alone. Even though it’s cool outside, remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to layer for outdoor exercise. Your body will warm up quickly and it’s important that you avoid trapping moisture against your skin.

Stay toasty and dry with layers of moisture-wicking clothing and items that’ll block the wind, like lightweight windbreakers or track pants. Wear a zip-up or pull-over that you can easily remove. And if it’s really crisp outside, grab a hat before you head out.

Not sure how to wear the layers? Experts say that the layer of clothing closest to your skin should be a moisture-wicking fabric that keeps sweat away from your skin, preventing you from feeling chilled. The second layer should be a lightweight warmth layer, like a long-sleeve t-shirt. And the outer layer of clothing should be the protective layer. That’s where the windbreakers and rain jackets come in.

Tip #3: Plan ahead

“If you don’t like the weather in Western New York, just wait five minutes.” That’s especially true in the fall, when erratic weather can result in sunshine, clouds, wind, and rain — on the same day.

But instead of using the weather as an excuse to avoid a workout, plan ahead. Keep a close eye on the forecast and be sure you’ve got the right gear for the weather. After all, if you’re comfortable during your workout, you’re more likely to make it a habit. And for those times when the meteorologists are wrong (ahem), make sure you’ve got a home routine to fall back on.

Planning ahead can also mean removing barriers to your morning workout. For example, pack your gym bag or lay out your home workout clothes the night before. Get ingredients ready to go into the crock pot in the morning. You can even schedule a workout with a fitness buddy, creating an obligation for yourself that you’ll be loath to break.

Bonus Tip: Be an active watcher

We couldn’t resist including this bonus tip: be an active watcher. What does that mean? All your favorite television shows premier in the fall, right? But you can avoid letting the television turn you into a couch potato by being an active watcher.

How? Most hour-long shows include about 20 minutes’ worth of total commercial time. Spend the commercial breaks running in place; doing standing lunges, squats, and tricep dips; or even planking. Elevating your heart rate several times an hour — for even a short period of time — will do your body a world of good.

It’s true that fall is a great time to hibernate. But if you use the change in season to launch a new fitness strategy that’ll keep you healthy and fit well into the new year, your body will thank you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with goals of becoming a champion triathlete. Take each day as a new opportunity to get out, get fit, and enjoy Western New York’s fall beauty.