Exercising is so much easier in the summer. After all, it's not difficult to get in some extra steps from wandering through outdoor festivals or catching a few extra laps while swimming in the pool. But once fall hits and the temperatures start to drop, the idea of staying inside, curled up with a pumpkin spice latte, is just too tempting — making it all too easy to put off going to the gym until another day. But it's very important to keep our bodies moving year-round, both for our physical and mental well-being. Not to mention, the moderate fall temperatures make it the ideal climate for outdoor activities. So don't get sucked into the couch; get up and go outside!
Regular physical activity strengthens our immune system, which is crucial as we move into the colder months. Maintaining a robust immune system can help ward off illnesses from the common cold to the dreaded flu. Plus, exercise activates our endorphins, which are powerful stress-relievers, uplifting our mood and alleviating anxiety — especially when we think about the holiday season that's looming right around the corner!
The cooler fall weather allows you to engage in longer, more enjoyable workouts without the risk of overheating. Plus, there are so many activities that can be done outside in autumn that don't even feel like exercise. Here, we give you six activities that will get your body moving and allow you to embrace this wonderful time of year.
1. Go on a Nature Hike
While the blazing summer sun can be too brutal to enjoy a vigorous hike, the cooler fall temperatures make it the ideal time to get outside. Even a gentle hike can get the heart rate going, burning extra calories. The uneven terrain helps improve your balance and builds stronger muscles and bones. If you live somewhere with gorgeous changing leaves, make sure to look around and soak in all of that beautiful scenery. And even if you don't, there's something about getting out in that cool, crisp air that frees the mind, calms anxiety and allows you to commune with nature.
2. Reach for Some Apples
Apple picking is the quintessential autumn activity — but it's also the perfect way to increase your step count and burn some calories. In addition to the benefits of walking, this is a great low-impact workout ideal for nail technicians who are used to bending over hands and feet all day.
When collecting apples, make sure to reach for the ones on the higher branches, as this stretching action will help open up your shoulders and back. As you make your way out of the orchard, do a few bicep curls using the bag of apples as the weight. Alternate between each arm, and don't forget to breathe; those apples can get heavy!
3. Rake Leaves
Those crimson, auburn, and ochre leaves sure are beautiful on the trees, but not so much once they fall all over your yard! Instead of getting the local neighbor kid to rake them for you, get out there and gather them yourself. This full-body activity works your arms, shoulder, back and legs, plus your core works overtime to stabilize your arms while they're moving. Not to mention, you can easily burn 250-350 calories per hour while cleaning up your yard at the same time!
4. Practice Yoga Outside
Yoga practiced anywhere is an excellent form of exercise, particularly for nail technicians, as it increases strength and mobility, helping the body cope with the rigors of working in a salon. But doing yoga outside only increases the benefits. For example, it requires a higher level of concentration than in your home or yoga studio due to the uneven terrain; balancing is more difficult when the floor isn't perfectly flat. It also forces you to increase your focus and quiet your mind as you work to ignore the sights and sounds of being outside.
5. Lunge and Lift Through a Pumpkin Patch
Another favorite autumn adventure is wandering through a pumpkin patch. While this activity provides you with a hearty dose of fall feels, it can also deliver a host of health benefits. To begin with, just stepping foot in the sunshine exposes you to an extra dose of vitamin D, which strengthens your bones and helps you absorb calcium. It also happens to be a great place to work on those quads and glutes!
Make your way to some of the larger pumpkins in the patch. Bend at your knees, like doing a squat, to grasp a pumpkin. Then lift with your legs (not your back) to pick it up. Repeat 10 times without actually putting the pumpkin down until your last rep. Keep your core tight and your chest up. Who needs a gym?
6. Get Lost in a Corn Maze
The corn maze is a highly underrated activity, as it's a great way to burn calories and get in those extra steps. You won't even realize how many steps you're taking as you get lost in the maze and try to make your way out. And if you really start to panic, don't be afraid to up your pace to a jog; this not only gets your heart rate going, but it will also get you to the exit as quickly as possible!
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Originally posted on NAILS Magazine