5 Ways to Make the Most of Shorter, Darker Days

Fall into fitness with these healthy tips.

Dealing with shorter days is no easy task, but you can maximize the autumn sunshine with a few tips and tricks.

Go for the great outdoors
Just because the sun is setting a little earlier doesn’t mean your outdoor workout has to suffer. With less heat and humidity, fall temps are ideal for walking, running and hiking. Walking is the easiest way to fit a little extra fitness in. Start by making it a habit to take a quick stroll before work or after dinner. Fall provides the best hiking weather, with cooler temps, no bugs and magnificent views. And, of course, you can round out your outdoor workout with a scenic run, enjoying the cool weather and changing leaves. Getting started with any of these activities now can help you generate the momentum to keep going during the colder, darker winter months as well.

Get back in the gym
If outdoor exercise adventures don’t inspire your fitness journey, this might be a great time to get back to the gym. There’s no reason to get stuck in the same boring gym routine day after day. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all your gym has to offer like fitness classes, personal trainers and swimming pools.

Think outside the box
So, you’re not a hiker. Or a gym rat. You can still find creative ways to bring fitness into your life. Working out at home can be just as effective, plus it’s a flexible and inexpensive way to stay healthy. Whether you like to sweat it out to a workout video or smartphone app, your living room can be the most convenient gym of all.

Dare to shine in the dark
Don’t let your urge to work out fade as the sun goes down. Whether it’s an early morning run or a post-dinner bike ride, make sure you’ve got something to light your way. Use sidewalks and off-road paths rather than the street, wear reflective clothing that makes you visible to others and don’t be afraid to take a portable flashlight with you.

Learn to love layers
Layers are so important for fall weather workouts. Before your body warms up you may feel chilled, but once your blood gets pumping you don’t want to overheat. The rule of threes applies to these layers—an inner layer of moisture-wicking fabric, a second layer for warmth and a third for protection from rain or wind. And don’t forget the sunglasses. UV protection is important year-round.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

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