fitness · season transitions

Falling into Fitness: How is your life shaping up with cooler days and darker nights? (Group blog post)

Here’s the question: For those of us in the northern hemisphere, how does the move to fall affect your fitness routines? Do you do different things as the seasons change? What do you like and dislike about the move from summer to autumn?

Regular Bloggers


🍂 I am glad the Tour de Watopia is starting again to give me some motivation to get onto my zwift bike when it’s dark at 6. I also really love the weather but have a harder time getting out during the day when the daylight hours are underway because I’m so work-busy. Also, I had sort of let go of my plan I had last winter to make sure I was outside for at least 23 minutes a day in daylight, because I’ve been outside so much – I have to get back into that intentional plan so I don’t fall into a SAD place.


🍂 Normally, I love fall. Leaves changing and a reprieve from the heat. I’m having some challenges around reclaiming my zest, but I’m thinking the cooler weather might perk me up, as I continue, as usual, with my same activities–running, pilates and peloton are my main three, plus biking around town (which is better when it’s not as hot!), plus long walks and hiking and yoga (from time to time). It’s true, as others say, that the dark mornings can be demotivating and I’m trying to be gentle on myself about that.


🍂 When I was running this past weekend I was conscious of how absolutely gorgeous out it was. Early fall can be really perfect running weather. I appreciate it.

I am not a fan of the shorter days, especially walking to the gym in the dark in the morning again. I am 100% a summer person but my exercise routine doesn’t really change a lot season to season because I am so routine oriented. Starting to run, years ago, in the fall and into the winter helped me appreciate and make the best of the changing seasons. The best piece of advice I have is, even if it seems like the weather isn’t the greatest, if you can find a way to do an activity in it (properly dressed), the season will be more enjoyable.


🍂 Aside from Halloween time, fall is my least favourite season. Less sun, less heat, less light. I struggle more to get myself outside, to leave the house, sometimes even to get out of bed. I find it harder to get motivated to be active on my own, so group and team activities help to boost my accountability (and spirits).


🍂 I love the fall for outdoor activities more than any other season. I also regard September as a “fresh page” of sorts — the academic in me will forever think of September as the beginning of the year. Couple that with my birthday month, and it always feels like a bit of a kickstart. The kick has been a bit slow to start this Fall, but I expect to continue trying to get my running routine back in play (especially now that I have new orthotics that are supposed to help with the ongoing achilles injury). I’m continuing with yoga–at home and at the hot studio. I’m adding a more regular commitment to resistance training 3x a week. And I’m walking to and from work a few times a week when it’s not raining. So maybe the only thing that is really changing is my level of motivation — it feels high right now.


🍂 I have a love/hate relationship with the fall when it comes to exercise. I love the temperatures for bike riding. I love the fall leaves. And I’m usually in pretty good shape for long rides when fall rolls around. But because of the lack of light I end up being a bit of a weekend warrior about it. If it rains on the weekend, I’m in trouble. I also fall for hikes but again, that’s a weekend thing. Also, like Tracy I feel the excitement of a new school year but especially because I’m a dean, it’s extra busy and I work into the evenings most nights. A lot of it is fun, social, back to school stuff but it’s not exercise.

A misty path with bright orange leaves. Photo by Unsplash.
Community members (I put the same question to friends and to followers of the Fit is a Feminist Issue Facebook page)

🍂 One of my favorite parts is that I don’t have to plan so hard before I go out for a long walk or bike ride. In summer, I need sunscreen (put it on before I go, bring it to reapply a few hours later), water (the initial supply and to plan for resupply en route), sometimes mosquito repellent, shade along the route if possible, salty snacks to replenish electrolytes, hat with bill or brim, etc. But in Fall… in Fall I can travel light. I can walk out the door with my helmet, gloves, bike and a single bottle of water. I can head into the woods with just one bottle of water or maybe even none. The air cools me rather than heating me. The humidity drops, as well. I eat fewer bugs and get fewer bugs stuck in my hair or to my sweaty body. I can just simply more easily… go. –Alison Reiheld

🍂 The best part of summer exercise is outdoor swimming. We only get two months to do it, and I am lucky to work just a 5 min walk from the municipal pool at Gibbons Park. My (only slightly disgusting) swim bag lives in my office and my swimsuit and towel decorate my wall all summer! I do drop the resistance training over the summer, even though the squat rack is all set up in my basement and I can use it whenever I want, but I can’t bear the thought of exercising in my scary basement when I could be outside in the sun. Outdoor swimming is glorious (really the only adjective to describe it) but I miss my team’s camaraderie. Come fall, it all moves indoors, and it’s back to my regular routine of swim practice with the team on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, weights on Mondays and Wednesdays and perhaps a spin ride here and there. Now I get to swim with the team, and it’s great to see my friends again and swim with them. And it is nice to get back to lifting weights and feeling strong that way. I’m just starting my fall routine now, and so far so good! –Savita Dhanvantari

🍂 All the ski areas start trying to get me excited. I’m not ready yet. I want more time on my sailboat, more time hiking, and then, maybe late October – November, I’ll be ready for snow.–Sara Wabi Gould

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