is my favorite season, but the shorter days and cool temperatures can certainly make staying healthy more of a challenge. I worked hard all summer to whip myself into shape, and I certainly do not want to lose what I’ve gained now. But my commute will take longer as there will less visibility and slower drivers on the road, thanks to the shorter days, and by the time I’m home, it will be too dark to run outside. Rather than get discouraged though, I came up with a few tips to inspire me to keep working out, and have some fun while I’m at it.

  • Use the beautiful weather as an excuse to get outside, as the temperatures are more comfortable than summer or winter. During the fall, there are tons of fun activities that can also count as exercise. Go on a scenic bike ride or hike a mountain and admire the foliage. Go apple-picking and walk around the orchard, or even climb the trees to reach the high fruit, if that’s allowed. Volunteer outdoors. Rake leaves or do yard work.
  • Get creative I even went to the zoo a few weeks ago and walked miles and miles around all the exhibits. New forms of exercise make the time go by faster and keep things interesting.
  • Look for small lifestyle changes you can make that will enable you to get more exercise during the normal day. For example, I always took the subway to and from the bus station, until one day I realized it takes almost the same amount of time to just walk there. Now, I get more exercise during the day without disturbing my routine, so if my bus ride takes longer due to darker evenings (or eventually, snow!) and I don’t have as much time for a run, I will be okay. Whether it be getting up a couple minutes early to walk the dog or just taking a stroll during your lunch break, little changes can make a big difference.
  • Be aware that colder weather makes us crave heartier foods, which contain less water and therefore more calories. Most people tend to be less active in the winter as well, so just be careful. Watch what you eat, and do your best to get exercise whenever possible. Paying attention to your meals and activities is key.
  • If you haven’t already, try to take a break from the gym and get some exercise outdoors while the weather is still warm. Chances are during the winter, you will spend plenty of time on the treadmill, and that will get monotonous after a while. Break up the dull routine now with some variety to shake things up and keep yourself motivated throughout the cold months ahead.
Remember that the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid features daily exercise, and that’s just as important as eating a healthy diet. So no matter how busy you are, find a way to get some sort of physical activity. —Chrisanne

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