It’s cocoon season. As the days get shorter, the weather gets cooler and rainy days become the norm, at least in the Pacific Northwest, we often get drawn towards the cozy protection of indoor spaces. During a normal Fall, my workouts usually revolve around the gym, where I do the majority of my pre-ski season training. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to change our normal habits, but it doesn’t have to be for the worst. This Fall it’s time to move your workouts and activity outdoors. It’s not only going to benefit your mood, energy level and immune system, but will also reduce your risk of catching colds, flus and dare I say…. COVID.
Getting active outside in the Fall is a nice idea, but is easier said than done. It takes some mental discipline to brave the cold. I’m a professional skier and I live for the cooler weather, but some days I still find it tough to get motivated. So to make things easier, I’ve outlined a few of my go-to tips and tricks to pull myself off the couch and into the fresh air.
- Have a structure and stick to it – At the start of each week write down your workouts or activity schedule in your daily planner and tick them off when completed.
- Embrace the weather – More often than not you will forget it’s even raining after a few minutes of moving your body. It also helps to invest in some good rain or cold weather gear, such as a lightweight and breathable windbreaker or shell, rain pants and Gore-Tex lined runners or hiking shoes. And, if you have the option, pick a trail through the trees. The canopy will provide protection from the wet weather.
Walk to your destination – Not everyone is into the impact of running or getting a sore butt from biking. But most of us can commit to walking. Try swapping out your vehicle and committing to walking to your destination a few times a week (e.g. work, a friend’s house, an appointment etc.) Pair warm clothes and rainwear with a good podcast and the steps will fly by.
Explore – Part of the fun of being active outside is exploring new areas. Whether you’re walking, running or biking, try to depart from your go-to routes and venture into a new zone. I like using apps such as All Trails, Trail Forks, Komoot or Strava to find my next adventure.
Find a friend (or two)– You’ve probably heard this time and again, but planning to workout with a friend will help motivate you and hold you accountable. It’s far easier to procrastinate when there is no one else involved. Plus, being able to catch up with friends can make the whole idea of working out seem more fun.
- Become a morning person – This may not be for everyone, but I find that doing some kind of physical activity in the morning sets me up for a good mood throughout the day. I’m also more likely to bail on my plan to workout if I leave it to the end of the day. I try to get my activity in first thing. I lay my clothes out at the end of my bed so once my alarm goes off I can literally roll into them. Once I’m dressed, there’s no turning back. The thought of treating myself with a delicious coffee once I’m done also helps get me out the door.
Written by Anna Segal, an Australian Olympic freestyle slopestyle skier and two-time world champion who lives, works and plays in beautiful Pemberton, BC.