The best way to start is not to stop!
It’s that time of year again, when we all often look at the cooler weather, the pitch black mornings (and afternoons – stupid Earth can’t stand up straight!), and the promise of seeing Uncle Carl at Thanksgiving and say “screw it – I will exercise after New Years when everything will be more settled.”
C’mon – you know it never gets less stressful. Which means that epic gym membership you promised you would use this year will likely be as worthwhile as my InstaPot.
Pop quiz: What is one of the most powerful forces in the universe? Besides Beyonce? That’s right – inertia. In essence, Newton’s first law says that objects that are in motion tend to stay in motion, whereas objects that are at rest tend to stay at rest. In other words, if you have to start something, it can be hard. If you don’t stop, it’s easier to, you know, never stop.
So how does this apply to exercise? Now is the time to start (or continue!) being active so that you are able to continue that momentum when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st and that fourth glass of champs compels you to put off that workout tomorrow…again.
So what are some of the best fall exercises?
- Getting outside: Unless you were in Chicago this week, fall is usually a great time to get outside and be active without sweating up a storm. You don’t need to do a ton – remember even just being outside for 20 minutes a day has profound overall health benefits.
- If you’re into walking, head out for lunch! Even parking farther away and walking to your office – you can do this!
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier and take a walk around the block. I use that time to focus and think about what I want to accomplish for the day.
- Head out for a run. Personally, I’d rather stick sharp sticks in my eyes than run outside, but if you’re into that, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside, get clean, crisp air, and enjoy the beautiful scenery for another week or two.
- Staying Inside – House Arrest: So depending on where you live, getting outside may be a bridge too far. If that’s the case, I’ll recycle one of my favorite health hacks I mentioned over the summer and tell you to head to Fitness Blender on Youtube. This FREE channel has over 550 exercise videos – many of which you can do without any gear and many you can crush in under 20 minutes. If for any reason you don’t believe that a weight-free workout can be effective, do this for 16 minutes and report back to me (although you won’t be able to since you won’t be able to move for 2 days).
Venturing Out – Gym Rat: Look, I’m not a massive fan of paying for gym memberships but they are valuable for many people. The reality is most gyms’ business models are predicated on you NOT going – and there wouldn’t be a $40B industry built on being wrong. But many find benefit in the social and motivational aspect of working out around other people, so to each their own. If you do head out, here are some tips:
- Get a routine: Pick 3 days a week and stick to them no matter what. Remember inertia is both your friend and enemy, so teach it who’s boss.
- Cardio: AHA guidelines say you need 75 minutes of cardio per week to see a benefit, which means at least two of those days should be 35-40 minutes of real cardio (not sitting there on Instagram while lazily walking on the treadmill).
- Strength: Especially if you’re a guy, strength training helps with testosterone (hey kids in your 20’s, this likely isn’t a problem but mark my words, it will be…)
- Hit the lanes: Swimming is amazing, no impact, good cardio and nice natural resistance.
- Phone-a-friend: Either a trainer or a buddy can help you stay accountable and you can play games like “who is going to complain about being sore first on iMessage a day later?”
Try a new tack: Fall is a great time to try and check out some new activities – some of my personal favorites:
- Indoor rock climbing: It’s super fun, an intense workout (or an easy one if you have someone lifting you up on a beley)
- Yoga: Who am I kidding, this isn’t a favorite of mine, per se, but the more I’ve done it, the more I actually see what all the fuss is about.
- Dance classes: You get some workout and you can really own the dance floor at your NYE event. Unless of course that NYE event is sitting in your living room, watching Mariah mess up the lip-sync, again.
The Bottom Line on Fall Exercise
Now is the time to get moving! Do it before it gets bitterly cold and you have yet another excuse to ‘wait until Spring’ to build the right habits to last a lifetime. Just like eating, diversity of exercises can be beneficial to your overall health, so use the fall to get out there, try some new stuff, and most importantly, avoid yet another winter of discontent.