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Great Transitions: Getting the Most of Late Summer and Fall Workouts

Posted on August 28, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Image from Vistaprint free stock.

My hubby and I took a great bike ride along the Saginaw Bay through Bay City. At first, we thought it was a new trail discovery, but it was actually the extension of one we tried out a couple of years ago. Most of the summer, we rode between 10-12 miles near our home to the nearby town. Neither one of us expected to cycle twice as long. Incredible. I burned 557 calories! When we came back to the trailhead, our wobbly legs barely got us through putting our bikes back on the rack of our van. Although tired and ready for a snack, it was a beautiful day with great scenery for most of our ride. I will tell you, though whoever thought of building a small park with picnic tables in front of the wastewater treatment facility has a sad sense of humor. We quickly passed by that place.

We encountered a few unusual situations on our ride from which you might benefit. Trail maps don’t give a good sense of where the trail changes to sidewalks. It also doesn't give you an idea of what neighborhoods are like nor traffic patterns when you have to cross streets. We had a near accident crossing one of the busy streets, encountered trail construction which took us through sand and hurried through some concerning areas of the city. We kept track of our time as well as the trail map so we could head back before dark. The temperature was comfortably warm, but not hot. Boy, did we sleep well! When our heads hit our pillows, we went sound asleep until our alarms rang the next morning. I love late-summer to fall workouts outdoors.

If you are considering how to keep up your outdoor workouts with changing seasons, you will want to think about a few things to make your transition great. Here are a few of our personal tips


1. Check your weather forecast and sunrise/sunset times. For us, it meant we didn’t have as much daylight as last month. We also ran into headwinds that made our ride more challenging. The days are shorter with colder temperatures early and late in the day. The middle of the day from 12 pm to 5 pm is warmer. Rain crops up more often as does the wind. Take appropriate gear for your day with alternatives in mind in case your activity could be a washout.

2. Consider your mode of outdoor exercise for the time of day. Traffic picked up as vacationers headed back home. This situation made for nerve-wracking street crossings. My hubby almost collided with a car turning in front of him. If heavy rush hour traffic makes you nervous, then jogging or riding a bike on the streets may not be a good idea. Maybe you would prefer to do something else or go somewhere else. You may want to run in the park or ride on back roads when you don’t have access to designated trails.

3. Prepare for the place you will exercise. We took a screenshot of the bike path which turned out to be a good thing. Early Fall leaves covered some of the trail arrows on the asphalt, causing us to stop to look at our map. Wet leaves produce slippery conditions, too. We also had no idea the city would route cyclists over sidewalks that heaved slightly from the tree roots underneath. The city strangely routed cyclists through sand where they closed a portion of the bike trail. Rollerbladers would struggle for sure. Knowing about your space can make a big difference in your safety as well as your workout quality.

4. Be ready for allergens. 'Tis the season for the sneezin'! Ragweed and other allergens bring tears to the eyes of many right now. I always take my allergy meds an hour before my outdoor workout, even if it means holding off for a while from my usual schedule. Take your meds, as well as emergency inhaler and epi-pen. Take a shower when you get home. Emergency room visits aren’t fun.

5. Have a backup system in case you don’t have cell coverage for your GPS maps or emergencies. We can't rely on cell service in our area. Sometimes I have it, and sometimes he has it, but rarely do we both have it. We kept a screenshot of the trail map handy. Paper maps are still worthwhile to pick up at parks and trailheads. Also, if there is an emergency, have a plan in case your phone has no service. Make note of businesses on your route where you can go for help.

6. Check the appropriate websites, etc. for alerts that may make a difference for your workout. Also, some trail and park systems put out warnings for trail closings. Unfortunately, our neck of the woods is terrible about it. One ride a couple of years ago during early Fall, a construction worker hammered away a massive chunk of the trail. No signs. No warnings! The area I moved from has alerts for its trails on the parks and recreation website. You may get a surprise or two, but if you can avoid them, your workout will be better for your efforts.

7. Don’t give up your sunscreen and sunglasses. Sun protection is still essential when the chilly breezes on cloudy days roll in.

Let’s hear from you! What suggestions would you give from your experiences with outdoor exercise during the summer to fall transition? Feel free to comment below.

May your shortening cooler days still bring great workout challenges for you. Many blessings to you!

Categories: fitness, exercise, health

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