I’m one of those exercise keeners who will run in pretty much any weather condition. I’ll shuffle my way across icy sidewalks in November, shiver through sub-arctic temperatures in January and splash through puddles in spring rainstorms.
But come summer, whenever I promise myself to go outside for a run in the hot hot heat that is Toronto’s July and August, I end up curled up on my couch instead, flashing back to the sweaty summer soccer tournaments of my youth.
“Weather conditions can promote or deter physical activity behaviour and ‘bad weather’ can be a barrier to being physically active,” says Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.
And yes, that includes heat waves. Heisz says in Canada people are most active in the spring and summer – except when temperatures are fry-an-egg-on-the-pavement hot, then activity levels plummet.
Hence why fall may be the perfect time to kick off your new fitness routine. Here are four other reasons why we love this season.
You are probably on more of schedule
Whether you’re going back to school or you know someone who is, chances are you’ll be on more of a 9-5 instead of hitting up the patio after work every night. “For many of us it is a time to head back to work, kids are back to school, and ultimately back to life’s routine. This includes getting back to our commitment to exercise regularly,” says personal trainer Dai Manuel. Be sure to block off workout time in your calendar, adds Heisz. “I include key details like what type of exercise I will do and with whom because thinking about these things ahead of time makes your physically active program easier to execute later.”
It’s still warm enough to go outside – which may be more motivating
“Exercising and being outdoors in nature can boost your mood and when combined may produce a synergistic effect,” says Heisz. Translation: if you’re actually enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to workout again.
Fall fitness wear
New tights and fleeces are reason enough for us to lace up our runners.
There are a lot of new programs on offer
Why oh why must your favourite pilates studio shut down for three weeks every August? At least it makes signing up for a new class in fall that much more exciting. Heisz suggests signing up for indoor exercises even while the weather is still temperate. “If the mere thought of exercising outdoors in the cold winter weather seems dreadful to you, it would be better to establish an enjoyable indoor activity now that will keep you motivated throughout the colder winter months.”
Oh yeah, and you don’t have to wait until fall
“I’m a big believer that the best time to start any health focused routine is TODAY,” says Manuel. “I’m still a believer that one should maintain routine all year round and follow a lifestyle that supports active living rather than trying to fit a routine into a lifestyle.”