We get it. Between the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and all the holidays between now and the new year, it’s easy to skip fitness and focus on comfort.
Research shows that physical activity for many people tends to slow down in the fall and winter. But that’s only if you don’t plan ahead!
This post will help you and your workers set smart goals for keeping up exercise habits well into the fall. Here’s to inspiring your autumn health and fitness goals!
Set Those Year-End Goals
When setting goals, it’s great to say them aloud, but for many, that’s about as far as the goal goes. Instead, make S.M.A.R.T. goals for exercise to keep yourself on track.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are always:
When each individual goal you set has this sort of direction and focus, it makes it easier to laser-focus efforts to achieve goals, especially your fitness goals.
For example, by the end of the year, you want to do 10 push-ups on your toes without stopping. That offers a time frame in which to do a very specific and measurable goal. If you can already do two push-ups without stopping, it’s quite achievable and may even motivate you to set a higher number goal if you reach your initial one sooner.
Other fitness goals worth setting this fall:
- Average 15,000 steps monthly - This is a realistic goal and one that can be easily set if you’re spending more time outdoors this fall. A brisk walking pace offers health perks like a better immune system, too. Focus on hitting your goal with a pedometer which makes it easy to track your steps daily.
- Commit to working out X number of days - This smart goal for exercise is one focused on consistency, the key to overall optimal fitness. When you’ve been inactive for a long time, it can take a while to build up your strength and commitment. Try shooting for three days a week by planning ahead.
- Get outdoors when you can - Planning ahead for nice weather to do outdoor exercise not only gets you motivated to enjoy the beautiful outdoors but changes up your scenery for your workout routine. And, you get the added health benefit of outdoor time plus exercise — a win-win.
While it’s easy to skip over this step of goal setting, try it out. See how it goes for you. Keep it as simple as writing it on a piece of paper and sharing it with a friend. Or, go big and ask loved ones on social media to join you in your fitness goals. You may be surprised who shows up to help encourage you or breaks a sweat right along with you!
Related: Water Challenge Campaign Tool Kit
Simple Fall Fitness Tips to Keep in Shape
Now that you’ve got your fitness goals lined up, it’s time to take action. Consider this a new challenge and an exciting opportunity to find fun ways to stay in shape. Do it for yourself and note how you feel along the way both mentally and physically.
Here are some tips to keep you motivated:
Add it to the Calendar
You know your schedule best. With the holiday season approaching and plenty of other (often more exciting) activities to do, it’s easy to skip working out one, two, or three days in a row. Then, you may find you have gone a whole month without a workout. Make it a part of your routine that you schedule workout time for yourself.
Fall fitness tip: Plan to do your workout when it’s convenient for you during the day. Working out when you’re feeling the most energized and motivated can help push you through the tough parts of a workout — whether it’s an in-person class or a Peleton instructor cheering you on in your home.
Wear the Proper Clothing and Gear
Spending more time outdoors on walks or runs? Make sure you’re appropriately dressed for the weather conditions. Whether you need long pants, better running shoes, or even gloves, ensuring your comfort when working out in the great outdoors will ensure you stay safe and your workout isn’t shortened. If it’s too cold, consider a workout indoors instead. The University of Alberta found that intense exercise in temperatures below 5 degrees Fahrenheit makes it harder for your lungs to warm and humidify the air you breathe, which can increase the risk for long-term lung damage.
Fall fitness tip: It’s hard to get motivated if you aren’t feeling and looking your best for a workout. Consider buying yourself a new workout outfit or two that you feel good in and also feels comfortable for what activity you’ll be doing.
Don’t Do Too Much
Even if you’re pumped to work out, taking the time to properly stretch and warm up the body is essential to injury prevention. Warming up with simple moves like jogging in place and dynamic stretches gets blood flowing and muscles warmed. Once warmed up, pace yourself and remember to listen to your body. Pain is never a good thing in working out, but a little bit of discomfort is.
Fall fitness tip: It’s a lot easier to fall off the fitness wagon if you are injured and can’t workout for safety reasons. Listen to your body and rest when you need to do so.
Find a Cheerleader
Boost your chances of staying on top of your fitness goals by connecting with a fitness buddy. This should be someone who has similar workout goals to you. You’ll want to workout with someone who feels like an encouraging coach, not a discouraging cheerleader.
Fall fitness tip: Get connected with a colleague, best friend, neighbor, or even an online support group. Having accountability makes doing hard activities feel easier and more rewarding.
Change Up Your Workouts
Don’t get bored with your usual workouts. Change it up each day you decide to break a sweat! Consider exploring virtual classes like kickboxing, yoga, pilates, and other cardio-based lessons. Even basic outdoor activities like raking leaves, gardening, and putting up decorations can count toward exercise goals. Make it fun, whatever you decide to do!
Fall fitness tip: Love walking nature trails? Find a new one each week to go explore.
Remember Your “Why”
When you’d rather hit snooze than get up for your 6 a.m. spin class, it’s tempting to just ignore your exercise goals. Part of keeping up with a fall fitness routine is ignoring that it’s still dark out when you get up, it’s chillier, and your bed is more comfortable.
Fall fitness tip: If it’s helpful to you, add a Post-It note to your mirror with your “why” you exercise. You may also set an alarm with a cheerful song to motivate you to get moving.
Show Yourself Kindness as You Work Through Fitness Goals
Goals are meant to challenge you. If you’re struggling to meet your goal or it’s taking longer than you expected, know it’s ok.
Don’t beat yourself, but instead, consider gratitude for all that your body is allowing you to do. This is hard to forget sometimes when you’re feeling frustrated that you can’t run one more mile or lift another weight.
Be gentle with yourself as you move forward in setting your workout and fitness goals. When you do so, you give yourself space to grow mentally. Remember your reason for working out in the first place and that can also offer comfort and encouragement in moving forward.
Change and goal-setting were never meant to be easy. But you can do it if you give yourself a chance to try with a little bit of self-compassion and grace sprinkled in.
How do you stay motivated to meet your fitness goals in the fall and winter?