Fall has finally arrived.
In the Pacific Northwest, fall has finally arrived, but it has been a bumpy road. We had temperatures well into the 80s through most of October, warm days brought more wildfires, and with that came unhealthy air quality and confinement indoors.
The warmer days also allowed for more time on the water, tomatoes still ripening on the vine, and continued alfresco meals.
Now that fall has arrived, the days are shorter, colder, and rainy it is time for most of us to transition from our summer activities to ones more suited for the season.
I know some of you will continue paddle boarding by donning a full wetsuit and others will brave the chilly dark mornings for their run. Whatever it is, I say go for it and enjoy.
Dealing with Seasonal Transitions and Movement
Personally, I find that I can maintain physical activity if I feel comfortable and safe, and that often means changing up the summertime routine.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get back into my groove, but I know that maintaining daily physical activity helps me feel my best mentally, emotionally and of course physically.
The more accessible and pleasurable your physical activity is the more likely you will enjoy it and do it!
When adjusting your physical activity for the season, consider these 3 factors to help you choose what is best for YOU.
Consider what time of day you want to move your body. Some people prefer to walk in daylight so you may need to adjust the time of your walk. If you don’t mind taking part in physical activities in the dark be sure to have safety gear like lights and reflective clothing to ensure drivers can see you.
With the change of the season, you may find that you have energy at different times of the day than you do in the spring and summer. I encourage you to trust your body to tell you when the best time is for your movement practice. You might consider getting started earlier, later or even mid-day.
For the first time in my life, I began exploring the idea of afternoon movement time rather than my previously rigid doctrine of it must be before 8am! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Some like it hot and some like it cold! Sometimes you want to build heat to warm up or do something that will cool you down. Perhaps you already know your ideal movement temperature, if you don’t, I invite you to explore what works best for you. If we take part in physical activity when it is our ideal or close to idea temperature we are more likely to stick with it.
In some climates, you can create your ideal temperature with certain clothing or gear, and in other climates that may not be possible, think Arizona in summer and Minnesota in winter. If the season does not offer you a temperature you can handle, consider moving your activities indoors.
I love being in the water, so in the summer I try to get into a natural body of water as much as possible. As the weather cools I transition to swimming indoors, it always takes me a bit of time to get the hang of it replacing sunglass for goggles and remembering to bring a change of clothes (yes, I have forgotten shoes, undies, and even a shirt once). But once I get into the new routine I find peace, pleasure and gratitude for being in the water.
So now that you have identified your ideal time and temperature for your physical activity, pause and get honest with yourself about what you are willing to tolerate. If you know where your boundaries are for what you are willing to do outside given the season you can then make a backup plan for when mother nature brings the unexpected.
I don’t mind walking in the rain, I live in Oregon with two dogs, and I walk in the rain a lot! But I do draw the line at torrential downpours and so do my pups who come from California and Texas. When it's too rainy to enjoy a walk outdoors, we have a game called “Family Race” which means all the humans and canines run in circles around our center stairwell on hard floors. It’s not about winning or losing the “race”, it's fun, chaotic, noisy, and gets all our hearts beating and our bodies moving.
Consider a backup plan for your physical activity if the weather is beyond your tolerance, your gym or pool is closed so you are left trying to figure it out at the moment.
The Secret to Transitioning and Staying Active?
YOU know your body best, so let it be your guide.
Sometimes that means switching up the time or day or moving your activity inside and sometimes it means taking a break and that is OK.
Our energy is different as we cycle through the seasons. Find what feels best for YOU!