By Andrea Woroch
The first day of fall is fastly approaching; Saturday, Sept. 22 marks the autumnal equinox and the official end to a sweltering summer. From the crisp, cool air to the brilliantly-colored leaves, this is one of my favorite seasons to be active outdoors.
Whether you spent the summer scaling mountains or doing laps in your gym’s outdoor pool, exercising outside doesn’t have to end when the first leaf drops. In fact, fall is a great time to harvest a new routine to re-energize your workout. Consider the following tips and get motivated!
Enjoy the foliage.
Exercising outside feels like a lot less work, especially if you’re doing something you enjoy. Relish the cooler weather and take advantage of outdoor adventures before the winter rolls in. Research park trails nearby to enjoy a hike or bike ride amid fall’s colorful foliage. Even apple picking or pumpkin gathering with your kids is a fun activity that is sure to burn calories.
The change in season brings about a change in climate. Depending on where you live, temperatures could gradually decrease or drastically dip over the next month. Keep this in mind as you plan outdoor activities and invest in breathable, moisture-wicking clothing. Though you may feel chilly at first, your body will quickly warm up once your blood starts pumping so you don’t want to overdress either. For those cold morning runs, a hat will help insult your head where you lose the most heat. Review this post from SparkPeople on how to layer effectively.
Shorter days bring dark mornings and evenings, but this shouldn’t deter you from an outdoor exercise regime. Just be smart about it; wear reflective workout clothes and carry a flashlight to illuminate your path. Bike riders should invest in headlights and blinking tail lights and stay clear of heavy traffic roads. All early morning or evening exercisers should opt for designated paths or head to the local school track.
Take cue from the kids.
As children head back to school this season, remember that you, too, should never stop learning. Are you interested in boxing, tap dancing or even fencing? Give it a try. Ask about deals on intro classes to find out if it’s right for you, or scour daily deal sites for introductory discounts.
Workout at home.
Now that the days feel shorter and the holiday season is looming, fitting fitness into your daily routine may feel impossible. But remember, even 15 or 20 minutes is enough time to get in a quick workout — think living-room aerobics or a quick dash around the neighborhood. Be prepared for those fleeting moments of free time with fitness DVDs or better yet, hit up Hulu for free workout tutorials on Exercise TV.
Get the right gear.
For the most part, you can challenge your muscles with your own body weight and avoid all that specialty, super-expensive equipment advertised on TV. However, some items are helpful to your results, like hand weights or resistance bands. Shop online for discounts at FreeShipping.org, where you can get a coupon code for 20-percent off at Champion through Oct. 9.
Freeze that gym membership.
If you don’t have time to get to the gym or you simply rather spend more time outdoors, consider freezing your gym membership for a couple of months. Though you’ll be charged a small monthly fee to retain the membership, you could save up to 90-percent of the regular monthly charge. Though some people opt to cancel, you could wind up paying pesky initiation fees once you’re ready to sign up again.
Savor fall produce for less.
Grocery stores and farmers’ markets will be full of fall’s freshest produce including apples, figs, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and winter squash. In-season produce is rich in flavor and cheap on your wallet. So, if you aren’t sure how to turn these seasonal vegetables and fruits into meals check out these tasty recipes from CookingLight.com.
Buy a bike.
According to The Best Time to Buy Guide, new bicycle models are released in September and dealers slash prices because they don’t want old models haunting their showrooms. Bike manufacturers make updates to new models, so educate yourself on those changes. Sometimes the updates are minimal or limited to design tweaks, making the older models a super smart buy.
Weigh yourself regularly.
With colder weather comes bulkier clothes, and I find it easy to overlook a few extra pounds through chunky sweaters. Combat this oversight by weighing yourself regularly, preferably at same time every day to get the most accurate reading. For help tracking your weight and exercise progress over time, try Fitbit’s Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, which wirelessly syncs to a free and private online account each time you step on the scale. You’ll get stats with easy-to-read graphs of important body measurements including weight, BMI and body fat percentage over time.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.