Debbie Archer | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
We can now breathe a sigh of relief as those hot summer days are behind us. Fall is a great time to add variety to your current workout routine or to try something totally different, Easter H. Tucker, interim family and consumer sciences program leader for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 2 ½ hours of physical active during the week, she said. Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and children 2 to 5 years old should play actively throughout the day.
The CDC says adults should move more and sit less during the day. There are positive health benefits for adults who do any amount of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, Tucker said. You may need more physical activity if you are trying to lose or maintain weight.
“Take advantage of the of the cooler weather. Most of us spend a lot of time working inside,” she said. “The following activities will get you outside. You can use the time to enjoy nature, clear your head and to remember there is a whole world outside all while improving your fitness.”
Tucker recommends trying one or all of the outdoor activities below.
- Walking. Now that the temperatures have dropped, you can get outside and walk without being concerned about the temperatures being too warm. Go for a walk in your neighborhood, a local park or on a walking trail. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can help one maintain a healthy weight; prevent or manage some health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes; strengthen your bones and muscles; improve your mood and improve your balance and coordination. Lace up a good pair of walking shoes and go for it.
- Running. Fall creates the perfect outdoor weather for a nice jog. Do you like competition? There are many local 5K and 10K races on the weekends and many of them support worthy causes. Running offers the same benefits as walking; however, the intensity is greater.
- Hiking. Are you looking for a family adventure? You may want to consider hiking. Plan a trip to a local state park and while there check out the beautiful fall foliage. Walking or hiking up an incline gets your heart pumping, which helps you burn calories and get fit.
- Biking (Cycling). Cycling regularly, especially at a high intensity, helps lower body fat levels, which aids in healthy weight management. Other benefits of cycling include improving leg strength and working your core. It is good for beginners and may boost mental health.
“If you are a beginner, start slowly, maybe three days a week,” Tucker said. “Do more if you can. Start where you are and not where you want to be. Going too aggressively can lead to injuries and setbacks.”
Remember to eat healthy as you improve your fitness, she said. Go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ChooseMyPlate.gov for healthy recipes. Fall brings many great choices of produce for many of those recipes.
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