Fall is a super season for shaping up, experts say.
How many New Year's Eves have you spent sipping champagne and vowing to get more fit in the coming year? And how many times have you failed to follow through?
"December 31 over a drink is too late to set goals and make promises," says Justin Price, owner of The Biomechanics, a personal training and wellness coaching facility in San Diego, Calif.
Fall, on the other hand, is a great time to start a fitness program because "'you're going to create good habits for the holiday season and the upcoming winter months," says Price.
Chris Freytag, a fitness instructor and fitness expert with Prevention magazine, agrees.
"With the change of seasons comes a renewed time to rethink and restart," she says. "'What's so special about January?"
Besides, says Freytag, a mother of three, moms with school-aged kids "think of September as the new year."
Here are 10 ways to start making the most of the season. And who knows? This year, you might be in great shape before that New Year's Eve party rolls around.
1. Take advantage of the weather. Fall can be a treat for the senses: the crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin carving, a gorgeous canopy of fall foliage, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. These months are a great time to exercise outdoors and enjoy cooler temperatures.
"Walking, hiking and cycling are all awesome in the fall," says Todd Durkin, MS, fitness coach and owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, Calif.
Discover park trails and take in some new scenery, whether you're walking, biking, or in-line skating, he suggests.
In places where snow falls early, try cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you live near the beach, get out and play volleyball, throw the Frisbee around, or play a vigorous game of fetch with your dog.
"It's a great time to do beach activities because it's so much less crowded," says Price.
If you're near a lake, try kayaking or canoeing, for an excellent whole-body workout and a great change of pace.
And remember, it doesn't have to seem like exercise to be a great workout.