APM Blog

5 Ways to Stay Active during Cooler Fall Weather

31 Oct

As the temperatures begin to drop, so do many people’s activity levels. Walks in the park and days spent gardening or biking are replaced with cozy days indoors, often in front of the TV. But there are actually a multitude of options for cool-weather fitness, no matter your activity level. Here are our top 5 favorites.


  1. Indoor swimming. Swimming is a great alternative to higher-impact exercises, like running, because it puts less pressure on the joints, according to physical therapist Courtney Wack. “It is great for knee pain, especially due to arthritis, and many back conditions,” she says, “because it decreases the pressure on the vertebral discs or facet joints. It is also very beneficial for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia or CRPS.”

    Not only is swimming a low-impact exercise, but it’s also versatile. Typical lap swimming works a variety of muscles and can help you develop core body strength, but it’s not the only aquatic fitness option. Many gyms and YMCAs with indoor pools offer a variety of aqua classes, from simple shallow-water exercises and classes designed to improve muscle strength and joint function to more intense classes like aqua Zumba, water jogging and intense cardio pool workouts. And, if you’re still on the fence, consider the fact that taking a dip in a heated pool can even help relax painful muscles and loosen joints. 

  2. Walking. While it might seem obvious, walking is a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. But walking on streets and sidewalks, even with the colorful fall foliage, can get dull. Consider spicing up your walking routine by taking a jaunt through a hay bale or corn maze, or take advantage of state parks, forests, recreation areas, trails and wildlife areas, which contain thousands of miles of hiking trails.

    If the weather isn’t cooperating, consider a stroll through your local mall. Mall perimeters typically range from .4 miles to .8 miles around, and most shopping centers have extended early hours specifically for walkers. Some even provide guests with complimentary walking logs and pedometers to help track your progress.

    Before starting your walk, warm up with a few stretches to prevent injury. “You can do some basic trunk rotation (looking over your shoulder), hamstring stretches (reaching toward your toes) and quadriceps stretches (holding your foot behind you),” says Courtney.

  3. Workout classes. Nowadays, gyms offer much more than simple aerobics and step classes. You can get your groove on in classes dedicated to belly dancing, hip hop, funk or Zumba, get your heart rate up with group treadmill, boxing or interval classes, or stretch it out and clear your mind with Pilates, yoga or Tai chi. For beginners, says Courtney, “Yoga and Pilates are great for developing your core and maintaining flexibility.”

    Every gym offers its own unique list of classes geared toward any fitness level. Even those just beginning a workout routine – or those who want to take it slow – can enroll in a beginner-friendly running or strength and movement class, which may also include tips on nutrition.

  4. Fitness videos. With YouTube and Amazon at your fingertips, any fitness video or DVD you can imagine is just a click away. And don’t think fitness DVDs are just for the super-intense P90X crowd; there’s an option for every expert level. For those who are less mobile, Courtney suggests the Sit and Be Fit series, which gives easy sitting stretches and exercises. There are various DVDs in the series, including ones geared toward those with arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis, as well as general balance, stretching and aerobics.

    Barre workouts are also becoming more popular, and instructional videos can be found on Youtube or purchased on Amazon. The concept is simple: Use a ballet barre to balance while doing small strengthening exercises focused on a specific set of muscles. The workout was actually designed by a ballerina after a back injury as a kind of rehab combined with dance conditioning. (Don’t worry, there’s no dance experience required!) When done right, it’s said to improve core strength and enhance mobility. And it can be done barefoot.
  1. Indoor sports league. Sports leagues aren’t just for kids. Consider picking up a new sport – or getting back to one you haven’t played in a while. There are men’s, women’s and coed leagues for a wide variety of skill levels. If the traditional basketball and volleyball leagues aren’t your style, consider joining a dodgeball, inner tube water polo, bowling or even ping pong team. Indoor soccer and flag football leagues are also available.

    But don’t forget to properly prepare for game time. “I would recommend a couple nights of practice before starting out with your first league game,” says Courtney. “Do some jogging to warm up and practice whatever motions are needed for the sport.” If it’s bowling you choose, she suggests doing some trunk rotation (looking over your shoulder) and playing a few games to warm up.  If it’s volleyball, make sure to warm up your shoulder with some serves, ball throws and lateral (side-to-side) movements before game time.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 08:46

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