“Fall into fitness”

I know, I know, technically it’s not yet fall. But with Labor Day being the unofficial start of fall, leaves already starting to change, and temps noticeably cooler, we’re basically there. And I think it’s appropriate we start to celebrate one of the best times of the year.

Fall fitness is the best.

In addition to all the great things fall brings, it’s a great time to reinvigorate healthy habits or pick up some new ones. Here are five reasons the fall season is great for fitness, health, and wellness.

1. Outdoor Running
Y’all knew this was coming. After a hot, humid summer, the cooler, crisper air that comes with fall is a gift for most runners.

I admit, this is selfishly #1 on the list because it’s my favorite thing about fall. But I know I’m not alone.

2. Gym Temps
The great outdoors isn’t the only place summer’s heat affects us. The gym tends to get a little extra hot and humid during the peak of summer. Between all the bodies and the constant stream of summer weather, sometimes the gym’s AC just can’t keep up.

If your gym is like mine, you’ll love the more comfortable environment that comes during fall.

3. Race Scenery
In addition to the pleasant weather that comes with outdoor running, fall is a great time to try a race, whether a 5k or marathon. Why? The beautiful scenery!

There are usually plenty of races happening in the fall. What better way to take in the fall foliage colors than during a race? It’s a win-win.

4. Workout Clothes
Sick of the same old shorts and tank tops? Tis the season for leggings, tights, and long-sleeve tees.

This one’s a little trivial but hey, anything that makes us feel good and more excited to work out is great in my book.

5. Pumpkin, Apple, Cinnamon – Oh My
Whether you hate the arrival of pumpkin-spice-everything or love it, you can’t argue with the benefits of the foods that are hallmarks of the fall season. Pumpkin is great for our immune systems (buh-bye fall colds), heart health, and skin. Apples are a great source of fiber and cinnamon has been known to boost brain power and keep cholesterol in check.

Healthy with pumpkin & cinnamon – and delish!

Keep in mind a lot of popular fall-themed foods skimp on the good, nutritious stuff so be mindful about balancing the treats (pumpkin spice latte, apple crisp, cinnamon baked goods) with better options (apples sprinkled with cinnamon, or my Very Berry Banana Oat muffins, swapping half a can of pumpkin for the berries – I tested this recipe last week and it’s a winner!).

6. Slow Down
Between weddings, vacations, and attempts to soak up beautiful weekends, summer tends to be jam-packed with commitments. Fall is a great time to get back into regular routines and make more time to slow down.

Try yoga, set aside 10 minutes on a Sunday to meditate, just remember to take time for yourself.

7. Meal Prep
With the slow down of summer activities, fall also is synonymous with getting back into routine, much of it thanks to back-to-school and kiddos. It’s a great opportunity to get back into a healthy meal prep routine that may have slid with your busy summer.

Remember, meal prep doesn’t have to take hours of effort. Wash and cut up fruit for an easy snack. Cook up and store veggies for easy reheating at dinner. Hard boil a dozen eggs to toss in your lunch salad. With meal prep, a little effort goes a long way.

8. Farmers’ Markets
Have you ever noticed the best veggies come from the local farmer’s market during the fall? I have – not sure if that’s a Midwest thing but there are so many great veggies readily available in the fall. I love hitting the downtown Fargo farmer’s market on Saturdays and loading up on yummy goods while, bonus, supporting local growers.

Thank you to farmers for fall harvest.

The other great part is these veggies can be used in all kinds of fall-appropriate – and easy – meals like soups and crockpot delights.

9. Clean and Fresh
Most of the time, husband and I are good about keeping our house pretty clean. We tend to set aside time on Saturday after our workouts, before college football games start, to sweep, clean toilets, dust, do the basics. During the summer, however, we’re spoiled with a lake cabin that we head to most weekends. Our cleaning regimen kind of goes by the wayside. Needless to say, one of the best parts of fall is getting back into our cleaning routine, especially with fall allergy time.

If this sounds like you, take advantage of the weekend time to keep your house clean. It feels great to have a clean house and the benefits of fewer allergens and germs will help keep you healthy as the temps shirt.

10. Beat the New Year’s Resolutionists
We all know it’s coming – the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. And, with the end of the holiday season comes the New Year’s Resolutions. Beat the rush and get your good habits going this fall.

Not only will your established routine help you stay on track during the holiday season, you’ll be much more comfortable navigating the gym, weight workouts, and new classes when things start to amp up.

If you’re not already excited for the fall season, I hope you are now! There are plenty of reasons why people are sad to see summer go but taking the change of season as an opportunity to focus on your wellness should make it easier.

Do you have a favorite part of the fall season? Is it one that’s on my list or something else? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share your fall wellness moments on Twitter and Instagram with the hasthtag #wellirl.

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