The kids are back in school, community pools are closing and it’s hard to believe fall is on the horizon. Can you almost taste the fresh-picked apples and feel the leaves crunching under your feet? Whether you spent the summer hiking beautiful Indiana trails or swimming laps at the neighborhood pool, your fitness routine doesn’t have to end when the first leaf falls.
Dr. Robert Klitzman, sports medicine specialist at Indiana University Health West Hospital, offers these fall fitness tips:
Watch the weather
Weather changes drastically throughout the fall season, not just day to day but hour by hour. Wear layers during outdoor workout sessions – you may find yourself cool in the morning but warm by mid-day.
Enjoy the scenery
It’s hard to beat an Indiana autumn. Whether you enjoy running, walking or biking, take some time to enjoy the outdoors and encourage your family to tag along.
Use bug spray
Those pesky mosquitos and gnats stick around longer than you think, and there’s nothing worse than starting an outdoor workout session and coming back inside because of too many bugs.
A sunburn can occur any time of year. It’s important to apply sunscreen and protect yourself against ultraviolet rays, even on cool or cloudy days.
Buy in-season produce
A healthy diet can’t be overemphasized. Shopping in-season means you’ll save money and enjoy the rich, fresh flavors of fall. Apples, brussels sprouts, pears, sweet potatoes and winter squash are all excellent choices.
Watch for dehydration and cramping
These signs can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. With fall sports back in session, teach your kids to be aware of dehydration and cramping. If you notice symptoms, take a break in the shade, cool off and drink some water. Be extra careful on hot and humid days.
The days will shorten and you may unexpectedly find yourself running or biking in the dark. Wear reflective clothing and utilize headlights and blinking taillights on your bike. Always be aware of traffic and stay on sidewalks and bike lanes.
Whatever fitness routine works for you, it’s important to know your body and when to seek expert help.
“If fitness is a new piece of your lifestyle, it’s reasonable to expect some muscle soreness after exercise,” Dr. Klitzman says. “However, if the pain does not go away or you experience swelling in a joint, those are signs of injury and should be looked at before you continue exercising.”
The orthopedic and sports medicine experts at IU Health West Hospital treat a wide variety of conditions, and many patients can be seen without even making an appointment by visiting the Walk-In Clinic at IU Health West Hospital.
The Walk-In Clinic at IU Health West Hospital is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit iuhealth.org/west/orthopedics-sports-medicine or call 317-944-9400.