As autumn arrives, it can be more tempting to cozy up on the couch with a warm drink and a favourite book or show, rather than get outside and move our bodies. It may also look different this year for extracurricular sports and activities due to physical distancing requirements. Overall, this could lead to difficulties achieving the Canada’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines of 60 minutes each day of moderate to vigorous for children 5-17 and 150 minutes per week for adults. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Fall is a great time for outdoor activity as hot temperatures aren’t slowing us down. The crisp air and crunch of leaves beneath our feet can stimulate our senses in new ways. Consider a weekend hike to a favourite or new spot or find a local apple orchard where you can pick your own bushel. Take a thermos of warm soup along for a picnic. Make a game of collecting autumn-themed items from nature, like chestnuts, colourful leaves, flowers and pinecones, to make a wreath or a fall centrepiece for your table.
With potentially less activity occurring at schools due to new physical distancing requirements, prioritize family activities before or after dinner. Head out to the park for a game of football or soccer, jump on your bikes for a spin around the local trails or simply walk around the neighbourhood and smell those wood-stoves firing up.
If it is a rainy day, get movement happening inside with a family stretch, yoga or dance session. With gyms more problematic in the pandemic, try to create a space at home with exercise mats, hand weights, resistance bands, and an exercise ball easily accessible. Create a simple boot camp routine to post on the wall (e.g. 3 sets of 10 reps of push ups, crunches, walking planks, jumping squats, lunges).
By prioritizing physical activity in this and all seasons, we can support the whole family’s physical and mental health. This is especially important during this strange time of uncertainty when stress and anxiety can be easily exacerbated. So as the leaves fall, jump up and get moving!