There is no doubt it is easier to stay active in summer. It is warm and sunny outside. The birds are singing. Your kids are out of school and itching to do something to burn off all that extra energy. The family dog is already ready for her next vigorous jog down the block.
But then fall arrives. It is back to school and back to work for the whole family. You can feel the approaching holidays, final exams and end-of-year work deadlines breathing down your neck. Where did all your fall fitness resolve go? It went the same place the summer sun went, and all your extra energy and motivation along with it.
Yet the truth remains the same: you feel better, look better, sleep better when you stay active.
If you just had the thought, “That is true, but it’s not going to happen. After all, when do I have time to join a gym, drive to that gym, get changed, workout, shower, drive back home, make dinner for my family, help the kids with their homework ….” you are going to love this post about how to stay on track with fitness for fall!
Your Goal: 150 Minutes of Movement Each Week
According to the esteemed Mayo Clinic, the typical adult needs at least 150 weekly minutes (or 20 daily minutes) of physical activity.
Are you getting yours?
There is no doubt life throws us all curve balls from time to time. Sometimes you just have to let something slide and that something is physical activity.
But this should be an occasional occurrence, not something that happens every day of your life. If this is happening to you, you are not the only one who will pay the price. Your partner, family, co-workers and the surrounding community will all be the worse for it when you allow yourself to break promises you make to yourself.
You are worth making time for. You just need to get a bit creative about how you do it!
Movement Is What Matters – Not Where You Do It
According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), self-efficacy is a vital trait found in people who find ways to move no matter what.
The term “self-efficacy” means you believe you can find ways to achieve your own goals. If you have self-efficacy, you will figure out how to influence your own life and environment in a way that allows you to work towards your own important goals.
The ODPHP reports that seeking out wellness and fitness tools and resources online is one of the hallmarks of motivated individuals with high self-efficacy scores.
In other words, if you haven’t tried online resources to find workouts you can do at home, at your desk at work, in the rec center at your school, wherever you are when you have a few free minutes, you are about to discover a whole new wealth of support to achieve your fall fitness goals.
Working out at home isn’t really any different than working out at a gym, except that it can be even better!
For example, when you work out at home, you can wear whatever you like, you can pause and rest if you need extra time to master a move or take a phone call, you can learn from the best and you can mix up your workout easily to stay interested.
Best of all, there is zero commute time. When you are done, you just walk across the room and jump in the (clean, unoccupied, private) shower and get on with your day or evening.
Mix & Match Is the Key to Fitness Being Fun
Inside every disciplined, hard-working adult there is a five-year-old who doesn’t want to do it (whatever it is) if it isn’t fun.
You will never get rid of that small, grumpy part of yourself that sees another session of same ol’ same ol’ fitness routine on the horizon and digs in their heels and says, “I’m not doing it!”
This is normal. We don’t lose our desire for new, novel experiences as we age. And in fact, keeping things fresh is a craving that comes straight from our brain cells! Today, science tells us that in many ways we are only as young as we think, which means we have to work out the brain just as much as we have to work out the body to stay youthful and fit.
Whenever you learn something new, your brain makes a new neural (nerve cell) connection. Overturning centuries of thought, research has now proven the brain can continue to make new neural connections all throughout life. Your brain is never too old to learn and grow.
According to the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the more new, fresh and innovative the lesson, the more eagerly the brain makes those new neural connections that will keep it – and you – feeling young and energetic and eager for more of what life has to offer.
So don’t be hesitant to mix up your fall fitness routine. If it is super-chilly out and your morning run is looking like a clear no-go, why not stay in and dance it out with your favorite mix of high-energy music?
When you arrive home feeling wiped and stressed and achy, a chill yoga session will get you breathing and relaxing and easing the body pain from your day away.
See Fitness As An Organic, Natural Part of Daily Life
Yet another significant barrier many people put in their own way when it comes to fitness is seeing it as “something else” they have to cram into their daily schedule.
When viewed from this perspective, at some point something’s gotta give, and so often it is working out. So why not approach workouts with a fresh (neural-connection building) eye towards incorporating fitness into your regularly scheduled daily life?
People all over the world are taking this approach and finding easy, fun ways to stay fit while life goes on as usual. One great example, as Healthline points out, is the simple standup desk.
Standing up at work (or in your home office) helps you burn more calories, reduce back pain, support your heart, balance blood sugar, improve energy and productivity – what’s not to love? You don’t have to make any extra time to make this change and many employers will even pay for your standup desk in the interests of lower medical insurance payouts.
Similarly, once you learn how to properly perform simple fitness moves like lunges, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, high jumps, low jumps, leg lifts, jumping jacks, hand-walking and similar others, you can do these nearly anywhere when you have a few free minutes. If your workplace has a spare unused conference room or your office has a door, use it!
If your employer favors a less private approach to work space, head for the stairs at lunch and boost your metabolism with some climbing before you eat.
Embrace the Short and Sweet HIT (High Intensity Workout)
We live in an era where time is perhaps our scarcest natural resource of all. So it is no wonder that the high intensity workout, or HIT, has been making news headlines worldwide for a few years now.
The concept of HIT is simple: take a minute, five minutes, seven minutes, 10 minutes and do something awesome with it. Raise your heart rate. Build a new muscle group, detoxify your circulatory system. Boost your mood. Generate feel-good endorphins.
But does it really work? The science says yes. According to PLOS One Journal, you really don’t need a ton of time to see the same basic benefits of working out regularly. You just need to make it happen. If five minutes is all you have, then use that five minutes and you will get the benefit.
Here again, many overly busy adults are turning to the web to find effective HIT workouts that can be done in one minute or five minutes or whatever time they happen to have that day. It is also perfectly fine to do just one chunk of a longer workout at a time, breaking it up throughout the day as you are able.
This means you no longer have to worry yourself to sleep at night wondering how fast your arteries will harden or how soon you will have to buy yourself an expensive new set of pants after skipping a whole week of workouts. You can do those workouts in micro-bursts and get the same basic benefits in a fraction of the time.
For once, it appears that news that sounds too good to be true really IS true.
As you face the fall season, with its cooler temperatures, shorter days, increasing demands and hectic timelines, it is vital to remember that you are your own best resource for moving through it all with grace and ease. Not only does working out regularly in whatever time you have through whatever means works for you move your body, but it also moves your mind.
There really is a way you can fit in daily physical activity so you feel your best, look your best and feel good about the life you are choosing to live.
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