My favorite thing to do in the fall is this:
I like taking my dog down to the lake at sunset and playing fetch with him. He loves it when I throw the stick in the water, and he swims to get it. I love watching my dog swimming and watching the sunset.
Today, I’ll share another 20 fun fall activities to get outside and stay in shape.
It’s the cool, crisp mornings, and the open-window afternoons. It’s the over-the-top multicolored sunsets. The time of year when we unearth the comfortable sweaters and the zip-up hoodies. It’s fall. Who doesn’t love the fall?
For all the charm of the season, fall still seems to be the time of year that many of us remember what it’s like to be busy. Despite all our good intentions, sometimes in the fall, our commitment to fitness gets packed away with the flip-flops and swim gear.
However, in the midst of shuttling kids to and fro, breaking out the long-sleeved shirts, and pulling the Halloween costumes from the attic, we’ve got some ideas on how to get outside and stay in shape in the fall.
1. Rake the Leaves
It’s going to need to be done anyway. You might as well get a workout in while you make the neighbors drool over your well-tended turf. Put your earbuds in and choose a playlist with songs at around 120 beats per minute (bpm) ― “Respect,” by Aretha Franklin, is one of them ― you can find some great 120 bpm song lists online. This particular music tempo can keep you moving and your heart pumping at just the right rate to burn loads of calories.
2. Hike in the Cool of the Morning
Skip your standing date with the ever-hilarious Jimmy Fallon tonight and close your eyes about an hour early instead. Then, wake up before anyone needs you and head out for a hike. Climb something, walk in the woods or take a long stroll around your neighborhood. Get out and get your workout in early. Ask a friend to meet you for the early morning hike, and you’ll be more motivated to stick to the plan.
3. Go Mushroom Hunting
The cooler fall temperatures bring about beautiful changes in the forest, which produce some of the tastiest mushrooms on Earth. In autumn, you can find oyster mushrooms, hen-of-the-woods and yellow button mushrooms. Locate a good field guide and recruit a couple of friends to forage with you for edible fungi.
4. Go Trick-or-Treating
Be the hero of your neighborhood by offering to chaperone a group of little goblins on Halloween. Be the one who makes sure the kiddos make it from door to door safely by walking with the pint-sized candy collectors. Their parents will adore you for it, and you’ll score some points with your pedometer too.
5. Enroll in a 5K Walk or Run
Choose a cause and start training. The fall is an ideal time to get out and start moving to support a local charity. Some races allow for the whole family to participate, which can be a great way to bond. Others encourage dog owners to bring their companions on leashes during the walk. Many communities have a fun run around Halloween where participants can dress in costume during the event. Often, these community runs or walks aren’t about competition. Rather, it’s a fun opportunity to get to know your neighbors and raise money for a worthy cause.
6. Plant a Fall Garden
Spring isn’t the only time to wear your rubber clogs and gardening gloves. Work up a sweat while you till up the soil to plant some herbs that tolerate cooler weather. Parsley, lavender, rosemary, chives and mint are just a few to get you started. Add in some cold-loving vegetables like snap peas, broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts, and you’ll have an abundant harvest to reap in no time – and firmer quads as well.
7. Take Advantage of Soccer Practice
If you find yourself sitting in the car, scrolling through Facebook while your child is at sports practice twice a week, resolve to use your time better. Most parks where practices are held have a walking path or a track nearby. If not, just circle the field a few times. During a 45-minute practice, you can log 2 miles of brisk walking easily.
8. Go Apple Picking
Orchards are brimming with beautifully ripe apples this time of year. Find a u-pick stand in your area and pick a peck of Galas, Fujis or Granny Smiths. You might be surprised at how much tastier apples are the very day you pluck them from the tree. One peck of apples weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. Tote your harvest around the orchard and enjoy the workout. Don’t worry about picking too much. They’ll stay firm, under refrigeration, for a couple of months.
9. Pokémon Go!
Yeah, we went there. It’s a free application. You can play it without being one of those dimwits that chases Pokémon into oncoming traffic. If you’ve got a smartphone, consider downloading the location-based app. Go around town on foot and see if you get a kick out of capturing and training little Pokémon. Bonus: Every 9-year-old in town will think you’re the coolest grownup of all time.
10. Try Geocaching
It may not be as cool as the Pokémon phenomenon, but it’s been around for a while, and it’s a bit more grownup. It’s a similar concept. But in geocaching, you use a GPS receiver – a smartphone will work – to hide and seek treasures, called geocaches, in your area. Type “geocaching” and the name of your town in a search engine to uncover GPS coordinates for geocaches nearby. You may discover things in your local park that you never knew about – and walk farther than you intended. It’s a win-win situation.
11. Check Out Some Community Outdoor Yoga
Check your local libraries, parks, universities and community centers to find information on outdoor yoga classes in your area. Most of these community classes are offered at a very low cost or no cost to the participant. Yoga offers amazing heart benefits. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll get a fantastic stretch at the very least. At most, you’ll meet some neighbors and get a top-notch workout. Namaste.
12. Get on a Paddleboat
If your community is fortunate enough to have bodies of water around, chances are quite good that you can find a place to rent a paddleboat. Get a friend to join you, and you’ll be on the water paddling away. Once you get to talking and enjoying the company, you won’t even realize you’re exercising.
13. Seek Out a Local Farmers’ Market
It seems that most communities have at least one or two weekly farmers’ markets these days. A farmers’ market is a terrific place to get fresh, seasonal produce. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to get some solid exercise while you shop outdoors. Bonus points for walking an extra lap through the market while carrying a watermelon or other heavy produce.
14. Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup
You can also make your kids go outside with you to pick up some trash. They can wear a disguise if necessary – we know it’s not cool. Take a couple of bags with you on a long walk and pick up soggy sale papers, discarded candy wrappers and water bottles that didn’t make it into the recycling bin. You’ll get some fresh air, great exercise and, even if the kids are whining, you’ll feel good about doing something selfless for your community. By the way, selflessness looks good on you.
15. Anyone for a Game of Badminton?
Teach the family that traditional British sport you might have enjoyed as a kid. Hit a thrift store to find a badminton set and get out back for a friendly game of shuttlecock. Check out the official rules online. Badminton can be a physically exerting activity. It’s a whole lot of fun.
16. Visit an Amusement Park or Zoo
Hands down, the best time to plan a trip to your local outdoor amusement park is when all the kids are back in school. You won’t stand in line nearly as long. and the crowds will have thinned significantly. Similarly, you can get through the entire zoo in one visit when you’re not stuck walking behind Mr. and Mrs. Slowpoke with their kids, Turtle, Snail and Molasses. Take your pedometer. You’ll be surprised at how many steps you can rack up at a theme park or zoo.
17. Start a Family Tradition of Flag Football This Thanksgiving
Of course, Aunt Beulah won’t play. But she’d love an invitation to watch. While everyone’s waiting around for the bird to be served, why not put on play clothes and head outside with the pigskin? It’s a lot better than devouring a cheeseball and trying to find a place to sit and balance a plate on your lap. It will be a mega-hit with the teens and kids in the family. You’ll all work up an appetite for the most delicious and special meal of the year.
18. Find Some Wood to Chop
Strengthen your core and get a cardio workout like none other. If you’ve got an ax and fireplace that needs a few logs, get to chopping. You’ll burn anywhere from 400 to 500 calories an hour splitting wood. You’ll also feel like the Incredible Hulk when you’re done.
19. Play Hide and Seek
Get the whole family to the nearest park for a game of hide and seek. Younger kids pair up with a grownup, so no one is unsupervised. Then, run like mad to find the perfect hiding spot while someone is counting to 100. You’ll laugh harder than you have in a while. The kids will have a blast, and you will be giving your body a joyful workout. Ollie Ollie Oxenfree!
20. Join a Volunteer Group
Help build or repair a house for a needy family. Mow yards for the elderly. Facilitate a homeless outreach and pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on foot this weekend. Get involved in something that builds community and fosters goodwill. Benevolence + exercise pretty much equals double.
Enjoy Everything That Fall Has to Offer
Don’t worry if it seems like all of your fall Saturdays have been buried under a pile of parent-teacher association forms, work meetings and piano recitals. You can still sneak in some legit exercise here and there, amid the autumn chaos. Make a goal to implement at least 10 of these ideas to get outside and stay in shape this fall. We know you can do it.
Rick Kaselj, MS
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