By Jonathon Stavres PhD, ACSM-EP-C
As the final stages of summer start to creep near and our daily activity level peaks, we inevitably start the descent that ends with us snuggled deep into our couches come winter. The best way to combat this is to stay active for as long as possible leading up to the winter; but more importantly, spending as little time as possible sitting on the couch.
Here are ten simple options for staying active from now through the end of the fall.
Depending on where you live, there are hiking trails that often overlook beautiful scenery. This can be ideal for those bright summer days when you would like to take the family for a picnic, and especially for those brisk fall afternoons when the leaves begin to change. Public parks and mountains often have multiple hiking trials that range in difficulty from novice to expert. You can usually find these trails online, generally on your state’s recreation website.
If you like to fish, this is a fantastic way of staying active and outdoors through the fall. Of course, the fishing seasons will vary depending on where you live. However, some are known to run through September or even December. Stream fishing would be ideal, as this type of fishing generally requires more walking compared to boat or lake fishing. However, if you’re not as much into fishing, there are other activities that you can participate in as well.
Just like stream fishing, bird-watching generally requires a fair amount of walking around outside. This activity can be performed up until birds migrate, and can even become a family activity. Furthermore, these birds can be cataloged, and you can travel to other places in hopes of seeing a wider variety of birds.
This is one my favorite things to do with my family. Geocaching is a scavenger hunt that is played through a global community via a website and/or phone application. To participate, all you need to do is download the app or look online for “catches” which are small items (i.e. journals, trinkets, boxes, etc.) that are hidden by people in secret locations.
The app or website will give you clues as to how to find the “catche”. Then you can log your find online. Once you’ve logged your find, you then leave it where you found it and move to another item. You can also leave your own catches, which you can then watch people find over time. This is a great game to play in public parks and locales where there is often a high volume of traffic, as there can be a surprising number of hidden catches in these areas.
Re-Do Your Landscaping
Through the end of summer, you may look over your lawn and decide that you want to change a few flowerbeds, cut down a few hedges, or even completely reorganize the layout of your lawn. Well, such a project can provide weeks of outdoor activity that can be maintained throughout the autumn months. As an added bonus, you may even save some labor costs.
Learn to Ride a Horse
From my personal perspective, there is not much more relaxing than going for a long horse ride in an area with scenic views. However, there is no question that horse-riding requires work, and is definitely an active hobby. Learning to ride a horse can easily consume a few hours a day, and is a great way alternative to binge watching your favorite TV program.
Through the end of summer and beginning of fall we start to see some of our favorite sports start back up. These include football, soccer, cheerleading, cross country, golf, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, and more. If you used to play any of these sports, you could apply or volunteer to coach the local high school, club, or even university teams. With practices usually lasting at least a couple hours a day, this consumes nearly ten hours a week where you will be on your feet and moving around instead of sitting down.
Go Apple or Pumpkin Picking
As autumn draws near so do the numerous apple and pumpkin festivals that accompany the fall season. Going apple or pumpkin picking each week is a great way to get the whole family together and out of the house; and supply your home with some fresh produce each week.
Watch the Leaves Turn
Just like the apple and pumpkin festivals, the autumn also brings the turning of the leaves. This phenomenon is a beautiful sight that only occurs for a few short weeks each year. Therefore, I recommend getting out of the house as much as possible and walking around the locations with the best views of the treetops. You can also bring along a camera (you could even rent a high- end camera) and take pictures that you can use to decorate your home.
Finally, our last recommendation today is to volunteer. Volunteering is a year-round option for getting out of the house. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, for your local relay for life, the habitat for humanity, or many others. There are plenty of organizations that host outdoor events that you can offer your time for free, while spending time on your feet.
We provided ten options for staying off the couch and on your feet throughout the fall months. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to stay active, and I challenge you to identify and use as many options as possible. Here’s to not letting winter creep up on us this year!
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