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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Healthy Fall Outdoor Activities and Tips

Fall is here and if you’re an outdoor enthusiast as I am, you’ll know that the evenings have turned cold (at least here in the Midwest) and the mornings are even colder. As it get’s colder, it gets easier and easier to skip a workout or hibernate inside.

Fall and winter bring with them not only cold weather, but great opportunities for new outdoor activities you and your family can enjoy. As you move your workouts and activities into colder weather, consider the following to stay safe and healthy:
  • Dress in layers: You want to make sure you’re comfortable as your body warms up, but you also want to be careful not to over heat. Keep your base layer tight and made of sweat-wicking material. Avoid cotton if you can!
  • Stretch: Stretching is incredibly important before and after a workout. Your muscles are more limber when they’re warm, so the longer you wait after a workout, the less effective stretching is. Don’t forget cooler temperatures will cool you down faster. Begin your workout with dynamic/active stretching and finish your workout with static stretching.
  • Warm-up: As important as stretching is warming up. When working out in colder weather, remember your body has to work harder to warm itself up. Don’t be hard on yourself it if takes you longer to get into your groove.
  • Be forgiving: If you can’t go as far or as hard or as fast as you normally would, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that there are outside elements that are out of your control – listen to your body.
  • Hydration: In colder weather, you likely won’t feel as if you’ve sweat as much. Trust me, you have. Hydration essential at all times, but as the air dies out and moisture is sucked from your skin, it’s more important than ever to hydrate before, during and after a workout.

If you’re not so much a fan of solo outdoor workouts, the following are some of my favorite family-friendly outdoor cold-weather activities:
  1. Hiking
  2. Sledding
  3. Ice Skating
  4. Snowshoeing
  5. Snowmen building
  6. Yard work (who doesn’t love jumping in leaves)
  7. Fire pits for roasting marshmallows
  8. And finally, my favorite, go for a family walk!

Fall is my favorite time of year as it is full of colorful change, transition and tradition. I hope you enjoy the fall – cold weather and all!

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