"Fall" Into Fitness This Season

With the leaves changing color, the weather cooling off and Thanksgiving only weeks away, it’s time to raid the closet again in search of a bulkier wardrobe. However, this should not signal an end to weight loss and physical fitness efforts. In fact, many people gain weight in the autumn months, sidetracked by dwindling daylight and the start of the busy holiday season. This year, try to avoid weight woes by increasing exercise and enjoying a healthy diet.

Here are some tips to make fall a "fit" season:

  • Enjoy the Great Outdoors. In many parts of the United States, autumn provides the perfect season for outdoor activity - cool mornings and evenings and warm afternoons. Get outside and take advantage of the brisker temperatures by bicycling, hiking, jogging and playing golf or tennis. Discover park trails or take a walk by the lake. In places where snow falls early, try cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you live near the water, try kayaking or get out and play a vigorous game of fetch with your dog. Remember, exercise comes in different forms. Raking leaves, carving pumpkins and doing other yard work can also help get the heart pumping.
  • Go to class. Have you always wanted to try tai chi or yoga? How about a trapeze class or boxing? Many gyms, private fitness clubs and park districts start up a new round of classes in the fall, so scan the schedules to see if something catches your interest. After all, a well-rounded fitness regimen is important.
  • Cut back on the sweets. To help maintain a healthier shape, consider the calorie savings provided by low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages. Products sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners allow consumers to enjoy their favorite meals without the extra calories. For example, drinking a diet soda can save 150 calories a day. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Choosing sugar-free chocolate will save you 50 calories a day – or five pounds – by year’s end.
  • Don't be a couch potato. Love the fall sweeps TV season? If you're planning to sit through hours of television each night, ramp up your sofa-based activity. While watching your favorite shows, walk or run in place, do lunges, abdominal work or lift weights. Do push-ups or tricep dips during commercial breaks. There are probably 20 minutes worth of commercial interruptions in a one-hour episode, which is more than enough time to get those muscles pumping.
  • Be social. Find a friend with a similar fitness level and goals and start exercising together. Having a partner helps boost motivation. Plus, you can use that exercise time to catch up on each other's lives.

Remember, fall is the perfect time to start a new fitness program. By burning those calories now, you can create good habits for the hectic holiday season.

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