With the cooler temperatures and changing leaves, Fall is a great time of the year to exercise outside. The change of season can also be the perfect time to re-energize your fitness routine. Follow these 9 tips to help get – or keep you – motivated!
1. Enjoy Nature
With Gatineau Park a short drive (or cycle) away and with all the trails and paths through Ottawa, there is no excuse not to take in all that our surroundings have to offer this fall. Make hiking or cycling part of your weekend routine. Plan a family outing to a local farm to enjoy apple picking, a corn maze or a pumpkin patch. It’s a fun way to burn off extra energy. Fight seasonal depression by enjoying the sunshine. Low levels of sunlight coupled with low Vitamin D can often be a culprit in experiencing seasonal affective disorder. While you can’t get out there and sunbathe, you can take in a fair amount of sunlight while walking, hiking or cycling. For more information on the importance of Vitamin D, check out our blog post on Vitamin D and shorter days.
2. Layer Up
With the fluctuating temperatures here in Ottawa this Fall, it can be challenging to know what to wear. The best advice is to layer. Once you are outside and moving, you will warm up quickly. You may need a hat at the beginning of your day but quickly becomes too hot as you and the day warms up. The layer closest to your skin should be moisture-wicking, especially when exercising vigorously. The outer layers will depend on how cold it is. A warmer layer such as a sweater or fleece is often enough for the fall weather but occasionally an outer windbreaker may be needed.
3. Safety First
If you are running or cycling in the Fall evening, remember that it will be getting dark by the time you make your way home. Be sure to wear reflective clothing so that you can be easily seen by cars, cyclists and other runners. A headlamp and proper lighting on your bike can be helpful. Remember, if cars can’t see you, they can’t avoid you!
4. Take Care With Gardening
There is a lot of cleanup to do around the house with the change of seasons. Getting vegetable and flower gardens cleaned out and raking leaves can take up much of your time but can also be great exercise! For tips on gardening safety, read our blog post here.
5. Buy Local and In-Season
Farmer’s Markets will be full of pumpkin, squash, apples and sweet potatoes which are all loaded with good nutrients and delicious in the Fall. By buying at the Farmer’s Market, the produce is most likely in season. It’s also nice knowing that you are supporting someone and their family in the Ottawa area!
6. Get Into The Habit Now
It takes 30 days for an activity to become a habit. Get into the routine of working out in the Fall season before the cold winter weather hits when it is all too easy to use any excuse to stay inside. Get into the routine of going to the gym or your favourite fitness class. It will make staying on track in the winter that much easier!
7. Think Outside The Box
Fall is a great time to try something new. Many fitness classes and programs begin in the Fall season. Check out your local community centre for new programs. You can also build activity into your day. For example, be an “active” TV watcher. Whenever a commercial comes on, do 10 pushups and 10 squats followed by a quick walk around the house. You can also use the commercial break to do some stretches. Straighten Up Canada, a free app from the Canadian Chiropractic Association, has excellent suggestions for stretches that you can easily work into your day. Movement is key to staying healthy!
8. Find Your Motivation
What motivates each person can be different. Are you trying to build strength or endurance, maintain your weight, or achieve better health? You have to choose an activity that you enjoy doing otherwise it’s just that much harder to commit. Why set yourself up for failure?! Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Work the buddy system. Maybe there is a particular class you enjoy doing. Set a goal of doing that class once a week or twice a week with a friend. Whatever is reasonable and doable for your schedule. This will help to keep you accountable.
9. Visit Your Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Registered Massage Therapist
As the cooler weather starts to sneak in, we will often see posture changes. When we are cold, we tend to hunch a little forward and roll our shoulders in. As well, cooler weather can lead to muscles becoming more tense as we try to keep warm. Stave off those aches and pains by keeping your appointments consistent!
Right now is a great time to get started with a fitness routine. Embrace the outdoors! Your body will thank you!
To book an appointment, please call 613.860.8600 for our Byward Clinic location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe Clinic location, or book online.