With the shorter days and cooler nights, it can be easy to slack off on fitness in the fall months. It’s as if the darkness pulls us inside to eat, drink and stay sedentary. Here’s a few tips to avoid the “fall 15.”
Rev up your intensity: It’s dark earlier in the evening so your usual two or three hour window to go running may be cut down to 45 minutes these days. As your running or workout time shortens, then the intensity must go up.
Studies have shown that working out in intervals to get your heart rate up to 85-95 percent of your max heart rate can not only help you burn more fat calories in a shorter time, but triggers your body to continue burning well after your training is done. This raises one’s metabolism, which tends to slow as we get older. I suggest adding 30-45 second all-out bout of hills, sprints or plyometric jumps during your workouts, interchanged with low-level recovery.
Don’t stop completely — drop to a slow job or fast-paced walk between rounds. Start at five rounds and work yourself up to 10 by adding one per week.
Cardio combo: I still meet people who train like cardio training and strength training are an old divorced couple who can not be in the room together. Well consider me Dr. Phil because we are combining the two.
With less time in the day, a way to get more for less is by combining your strength and cardio workouts. My go to is breaking my training into small circuits and finishing each circuit with a high intensity cardio exercise. For example, try a circuit of dumbbell presses, pull ups, lunges and squats followed by 45 seconds of mountain climbers or burpees. Let me know if your heart thinks it did cardio.
Split up your sessions: The more training I can do outside, the better. I love the energy of the sun. Maybe you can’t do a full hour now since the sun is out a lot less, but no worries, you can always split your sessions. Thirty minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening still gets you a hour of training for the day.
Also, by splitting it up you avoid losing an entire day of fitness if something out of the ordinary comes up. I challenge you to also get in some type of physical activity midday at the office. Even if it’s as little as holding a walking meeting or walking lunch, you’ll spark your metabolism during the mid day. If that’s not enough, mid-day office workouts have been linked to more productive and happier employees, so get out there and get moving.
As we fall into the season’s change, remember our goals, visions and our health. Not having enough time is never a valid excuse for missing out on staying active. You only get one body, so treat it as such.