Fall is a great time to start or renew an exercise routine and lose a few pounds (before all the high-calorie temptations of the holidays start). In most areas, the hot and muggy days of summer are gone, replaced with cooler (but not yet frigid) days of fall. Perfect for lots of fun outdoor activities!
4 Fun Fall Activities to Lose Weight:
Walking truly is one of the most accessible, fun, and effective ways to exercise in the fall or any time of year. It doesn't require purchasing special equipment (except maybe a good pair of walking shoes) or memberships. You can walk around your neighborhood or visit a local park.
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking offers many benefits beyond weight loss, such as improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles and bones, reduced stress, and so much more. For weight loss, experts recommend at least 10,000 steps a day.
Biking is another low-impact exercise for people of all ages that can be a fun activity, a mode of transportation, or even a competitive sport. You can cycle around your neighborhood or find a local trail. Plus, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. Isn't that better than trudging along on a stationary bike?
The health benefits of biking include increased cardiovascular fitness, improved joint mobility, decreased body fat levels, and more. In addition, if you can use biking as a mode of transportation, it also offers many benefits to our planet's health, such as reducing air and noise pollution, harmful chemicals, and more.
How much you need to bike to lose weight depends on your age, fitness level, and starting weight. The general recommendation is 35-40 minutes a day to lose weight. How long you ride, and the intensity is more important than how far you ride.
Running is another great way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, improve your health, and lose weight. It has many of the same health benefits as walking and biking, such as lowering blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. And again, running is accessible to just about anyone and does not require purchasing any special equipment (except a good pair of running shoes) or memberships. You can also join 5K fundraising events sponsored by non-profits in the fall.
The Mayo Clinic states, "For every mile run, the average person will burn approximately 100 calories. The good news is that if you are not ready to run, you may start off with walking, which burns about the same amount of calories. If, over a week's time, you walk or run 35 miles, you would lose 1 pound per week. This is, provided that you do not increase your caloric intake."
The cooler weather also makes joining a team sport - such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, or football – more fun. Team sports offer the benefits of aerobic exercise, improved motivation, confidence boosting, and social activity.
Emory University reports, "Group sports participants also reported lower levels of perceived exertion than those who jogged, did strength training, or ran intervals, possibly because for some, team sports tend to be more social and fun than solitary exercise. That could explain why people who play group sports tend to stick with them longer and attend sessions more often than those in traditional exercise interventions."
Recreational team sports are a good alternative for inactive adults. Emory states, "The variety of movement patterns associated with team sports—sprints, bursts of intense action, changes in direction and acceleration, muscle loading—provide a combination of aerobic, endurance, and resistance training. A meta-analysis of published literature on the topic revealed that compared with control subjects, people who participated in recreational group sports saw important reductions in weight, percentage of body fat, blood pressure, and lipid levels, and large increases in aerobic fitness, which can translate into reduced risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
So, why not take advantage of the cooler, more comfortable fall weather to improve fitness and lose weight?
NOTE: Always consult a doctor before starting any exercise routine or diet.
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