Seven Tactics to Help You Maintain Your Summer Body This Fall
Now that swimsuit season and sky-high summer temperatures are behind us, you may be tempted to tone down the ambitious fitness and nutrition regimen you’ve followed all summer.
After all, you tell yourself, nobody will be able to see what’s underneath your fall + winter layers, right? Sure, there are plenty of excuses to choose from—and you’re certainly not the only person who’s considering taking a break from the gym. But Warren Honeycutt says that while the shorts, swimsuits, and sundresses may be packed away for the year, you shouldn’t stop striving for good health. “A lot of people go into ‘hibernation mode’ when the leaves begin to fall and the weather gets cooler,” says Honeycutt, author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss .”
But no matter what time of year it is or how many layers you’re wearing, there are always countless benefits to practicing positive wellness habits: more energy during the day, better sleep at night, improved mood, a stronger immune system (perfect for fighting off common cold-weather sicknesses!), and much more. Why slow down just because you won’t be lounging by the poolside for a while?
Here, Honeycutt shares seven ways to stay in summer shape year-round:
Enjoy some autumnal activities. Switch up your workout regimen and take advantage of cooler temperatures and beautiful autumn landscapes via hiking, biking, or canoeing. There are plenty of outdoor activities that only improve with the change in scenery, so finding an enjoyable way to get some outdoor exercise in the fall should be no trouble. Even seasonal landscaping and leaf-raking counts if it gets your heart rate up!
Motivate yourself with some brand-new gear. Treat yourself to some cooler-weather workout gear: a new pair of jogging leggings with a fun pattern or a brightly colored windbreaker. Your new threads will help you get excited about breaking a sweat. “Pick out clothing that wicks away moisture as you exercise,” Honeycutt recommends. “It prevents chills from cold air as you sweat, leaving you warmer and drier during your outdoor workouts.”
Put some seasonal produce on your plate. Sure, the growing season for a lot of fruits and veggies is over, but there’s still a lot to be found at the farmer’s market! Butternut and acorn squash, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips, and more may well be in season where you live. “Best of all, there are hundreds of delicious, healthy seasonal recipes you can try out with the produce options available in the fall,” Honeycutt points out.
Go back to school. Your kids are hitting the books once again—why shouldn’t you? Fall is a perfect time of year for you to sign up for a new fitness or cooking class. “This is a fun and productive way to take advantage of the time spent indoors during the fall and winter,” Honeycutt notes. “Plus, a regularly scheduled class will help you stay motivated. By the time spring comes again, you’ll have gained some handy new skills!”
Don’t forget to hydrate. You may not feel as thirsty when it isn’t scorching outside, but the cold, crisp weather can actually dry you out much faster than a warm summer day. The heavier clothing makes your body work harder during physical activity, and you lose moisture more quickly as your sweat evaporates and you exhale water vapor. “Bring along some room-temperature water on your hike, jog, bike ride, or other outdoor activity, and remember to keep drinking even if you don’t feel thirsty,” advises Honeycutt. “It’s important to stay hydrated and to regulate your body temperature as you move.”
Start your workout early in the day. The days are getting shorter, so be smart about using the natural light you have! If the sun is already low in the sky by the time you’re ready to exercise, your body could take it as a cue to power down and get ready for sleep. Starting earlier in the day will help you keep your energy up and stay warm if you’re outdoors. Then you’ll have the evening to relax and unwind.
Brush up on some home workout techniques. Some days are just too chilly for an outdoor activity. Fortunately, with a few simple tools, you can break a sweat without ever leaving your home. “Dumbbells and resistance bands are easy-to-use, affordable, and compact tools that can give you a quick, thorough workout right at home,” Honeycutt says. “There are also dozens of simple body weight exercises you can perform to strengthen your muscles and get your heart pumping. Don’t let the cold keep you from warming up!”
“Keeping up positive exercise and nutrition habits all year long is essential to your health and well-being,” Honeycutt concludes. “But it also comes with a perk most people overlook: When next summer rolls around, you won’t have to scramble to get in swimsuit shape––you can just head straight to the pool!”
Warren Honeycutt is the author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss. An expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, he is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. A popular speaker on fitness and nutrition topics, Honeycutt’s expertise has been featured by NBC, CBS, ABC, LifeExtension, A Second Look at Sports, LiveStrong, Live Relentless, and more. To learn more here.