What is there not to like about fall? Cooler weather (it’s not hot anymore…but it’s not cold yet either). Beautiful colors (a glorious time to be outside). Change (something we all relate to ….the change on the outside usually reflects a change on the inside as well). Like I said, what’s not to like about this season?
Here are three of my go-to fall workouts that are also three more reasons I love fall.
Spot Squat Run”. Tired of the same-old same old run? Add some squats/push-ups/lunges smack dab in the middle of your same old-same old. If you are going out for 5 miles, for instance, stop after the first 2.5 and do the following quick and dirty mini workout: 3X 20 squats/ 20 push ups/ 20 lunges (you can drop this to 10 if 20 is too much at first). Take a few much needed breaths at this point and ready yourself for the second 2.5 miles of your run. Two things I like about this workout… 1) You won’t believe how much you want to run after you’ve done the squat – push up fun, and 2) You’ll find five miles goes much faster when you break it up this way. The cooler fall climate makes this a great time to try to change up workout…
2. “Do the Three-Pound Walk“. Walk instead of run. Try it with 3-pound weights in your hands. I know this is so 1985, but sometimes retro is good – even when it comes to fitness. As I have gotten older I have learned to appreciate walking. Running for so much of my life, I forget that often times we all can have too much of a good thing. Already I am feeling the effects of all my years of running. A Huffington Post article recently quoted James O’Keefe, 58, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO. After O’Keefe investigated the effects of intense physical activity on the human heart and body, he actually dialed down his own routine.
“If your goal is exercising for overall health and to improve your longevity, then walking is ideal,” he says. If you struggle to find motivation to run, and you’ve always assumed walking isn’t hard-core enough to improve your health, set those fears aside; walking appears to bestow all the same health benefits as running — without the risks, according to the Huffington Post. And even if, like me, you have no problem with motivation, the aches and pains of joint pain can be the reason to switch and just might be the change your body is craving. Perhaps we can take a cue from the changing hues of fall and make some fitness changes that suit our health… walk instead of run. Adding a few small weights like 2-3 pounders can give you just the extra uumph your walking workout needs and can tone those arms in the process.
3. Go For a Trail Run. Find the nearest trail run and go lose yourself in nature. I’m not talking about a nearby paved running trail (if that’s all you’ve got that’s ok), I’m talking about that nature trail that is not too far away but where you rarely think about stopping. Most of us have some kind of city or state park in close enough proximity to where we live. There is one only minutes from my house. I don’t ever think about going there because the narrow nature trails make it a more suitable trail for mountain biking. Right now the trees are brilliant and the lake that’s tucked deeply in the park reflects the blue sky in an amazing way.
Start out walking then switch to a jog… and start to run when you feel acclimated (or don’t run at all – see #2). By the way, don’t bring headphones (I guess I could be convinced if it’s a quiet play list) and lose yourself in the beauty of God’s creation. Fall is the best time for this. Something about the change of trees and the fall foilage stirs in me a desire to think about changes I need to make. I draw courage from the beauty of the change I see in nature. Try it. I think you’ll know what I mean. Just be careful of roots and stones underfoot cause I’m not talking about that kind of fall…