As summer fun winds down and the nippy air encourages us to stay indoors, maintaining an active lifestyle can become challenging. Jeffrey Richard, a clinical exercise physiologist at Joslin Diabetes Center, emphasizes the importance of fall fitness: “Staying active through the fall could really set the tone for the impending chilly months.” Here, we invite you to check out some seasonal activities that will help you break a sweat:
Those leaves aren’t going to rake themselves! Tidying up your yard can help get your arms and core working and your heart pumping. Be mindful of ticks, however: try to wear long pants, boots, and cover your arms and neck. Even then, be sure to do a thorough tick check afterwards.
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An hour of raking leaves can burn up to 261 calories.* However, you can always enhance everyday activities to make them more calorie-burning. For raking leaves, Richard suggests several actions: “Pick up the pace of raking. Extend your reach with each swipe. Try to push down into the rake…. Use your upper body and core muscles to get that rake through the top thin layer of dirt.”
Nothing says “fall” quite like football. Playing a one-hour game of touch, flag, or regular football burns 653 calories.* Perhaps in addition to your fantasy football league, round up your buddies and set up a team of your own. Having scheduled games, as well as some friendly competition, will help you stay motivated to stay in shape. Everyone will wish you were their first draft pick in no time!
Apple picking involves multiple activities in one: walking through the orchard, climbing trees, and patrolling the ground below for fallen gems. Many orchards have hay rides and other group activities that make apple picking the perfect family outing, so bring your loved ones along for the fun—and burn at least 187 calories* while you’re at it!
Who knew decorating for Halloween could be so strenuous?! If you spend thirty minutes carving a pumpkin from start to finish—slicing the top, hallowing it out, and making a face in the front—we estimate you can burn about 60 calories.* Once your forearms are all tuckered out, enjoy the fruits—or, squashes—of your labor and illuminate the friendly pumpkin faces on your front stoop. Put small battery-operated faux-candles inside them: you’ll get the same warm glow, without the fire hazard!
Richard reminds us: “When we think of the definition of exercise, it is essentially a period of increased physical activity done with a purpose. With this mindset, we could see exercise as being more than just a treadmill and dumbbells. Raking leaves, walking around the orchard to find the perfect apples or pumpkins, or even walking or jogging on a trail to see the changing leaves can be great ways to stay active and improve your health.”
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Do you need help with your exercise routine? Learn more about Joslin’s Exercise Physiologists.
*Calories were calculated based on the average height and weight of a man living in the United States in 2014: approximately 5’10” and 195.5 lbs.