By JOHN VASILE
---- — Fall is a beautiful time of year to get outside and enjoy the changing environment. Besides observing the transitioning colors of the leaves, other activities are available for staying active in a fun way.
The cooler temperatures and less humidity make great weather for brisk walking, jogging, running or cycling. Not only can you work on fitness, you will also be able to enjoy the scenery outside. This is an excellent way to work on cardiovascular fitness.
It is important to wear layers that can be removed when core body temperature increases. Try to make sure the layer that’s closest to your body is a moisture-wicking material such as “Dri-Fit.”
Also, be cautious as the days become shorter. Wear reflective material or some type of headlamp in order to make yourself stand out in the darkness.
Some area farmers set up corn mazes in their cornfields this time of year. This is fun way to spend time with family members, friends or a significant other. You could even challenge others to try and navigate the maze for time.
Another activity could include playing paintball. Paintball is a fun way to test your strategic abilities while sprinting, rolling and diving for cover. Ask anyone who has played; paintball is certainly a workout, and a fun one at that.
Apple picking is certainly a common fall activity. This is a great way to grab some healthy food while being outdoors. Apples are a great snack and taste even better with peanut butter (that is, if you are not allergic to peanuts).
Closer to Halloween, find a local orchard and go pick up a pumpkin for the holiday. Carrying the pumpkin, itself, is a workout, and if you want to kick it up a notch, try doing some squats while holding the pumpkin. As always, keep your feet shoulder width apart with the weight on your heels, and keep your back from rounding. Perform three sets for 12 to 15 repetitions. I encourage only people familiar with strength training to try this one.
In the cooler weather, we do not always feel as thirsty, but we become dehydrated just as we do during other seasons. Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty.
Also, while touching on the subject of water, it is important for swimmers to search for locations that offer indoor swimming. By joining a facility with an indoor pool, individuals will be able to maintain their swimming fitness through the cold-weather season.
With all the falling leaves throughout autumn, it is time to pull out that rake and start creating some leaf piles. This activity targets upper-body strength while involving some cardio. Raking leaves can burn between 200 and 300 calories per hour. If you have a health issue, such as a cardiac or an orthopedic concern, use caution or ask a doctor before partaking in this activity.
This sport can be played well into fall before snow starts falling. It is a great way to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather while gaining some fitness. Try walking the course instead of driving a cart. This will work both the upper and lower body while involving some cardio (if you walk). This activity can burn around 200 calories per hour.
We live in a perfect area to get out and hike some mountains. Work on becoming a 46er, and see if you can eventually hike all 46 peaks of the Adirondacks. Not only is hiking a great way to work on lower-body strength and cardio, but you can also enjoy the fall foliage at the same time. Hiking can burn around 300 to 400 calories per hour depending on the intensity.
Take these ideas and make sure to get outside during this fall season. It has many health benefits and gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors before the snow hits.
John Vasile, NSCA, holds a bachelor’s degree and is a certified personal trainer at the Wellness Center at PARC, located at 295 New York Road (next to ARC) in Plattsburgh. For more information, call him at 324-2024.