Even if you’re not shuttling kids back to school or in a climate where autumn brings changing leaves and dropping temperatures, there tends to be a shift in our schedules and moods that comes with the start of fall, says Minneapolis-based Lindsay Ogden, a National Academy of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainer and the digital manager for content and coaching at for Life Time, a national fitness company that runs gyms and corporate wellness programs.
Fewer hours of daylight might find you spending less time outdoors, especially in the evenings or early morning hours. You might find yourself less motivated to stick with an outdoor workout, particularly if you had been exercising at one of these times, Ogden says. “Maybe it’s now dark when you get up.”
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Some people find themselves more energized to work out at new times throughout the day, she says. Or you might find yourself craving new ways to work out altogether. That “fresh start” feeling that comes with trying new activities can be really motivating, says Ogden.
The novelty can make it playful and fun — and something you look forward to rather than something you feel like you have to slog through.
Here are a few ideas of activities to try that can help you fit in lots of movement and embrace the change of season:
1. Apple Picking
Fall offers lots of outdoor activities to help you get a few extra steps in, from apple picking to navigating a corn maze to hiking or cycling.
Activities like these can up overall activity throughout the day and offer short bursts of intensity, says Ogden. For example, apple picking requires overhead stretching, as well as twists and forward bends (all good for maintaining mobility). A corn maze might inspire you to sprint through in a race with your friends and family.
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Getting different types of motion than you’d find in the gym can improve fitness overall, Ogden explains, since you’re using multiple muscle groups. Plus, she adds that being outdoors can give you an additional mental health boost.
“Wherever you are, think about ways to enjoy the season and truly embrace it,” Ogden suggests. Enjoying movement will make it feel less like work.
2. Fun Runs
Fall is definitely “fun run” season, says Ogden. For instance, many cities have a turkey trot run either on Thanksgiving or the weekend after. Other fun runs have themes — like a color run, where you jog through clouds of nontoxic colored powders, or a leaf run, where you run through a tree-lined course resplendent in autumn colors — and encourage participants to dress up in costumes or festive attire, Ogden says. Many of these races have a less intimidating 5K or other shorter distance option, or allow you to walk the route. Music, post-event celebrations, and the company of others offer a party-like