It’s definitely a crime that spring is the unofficial time to start exercising. I get that the winter is long, and the prospect of warmer days just makes you want to go out and reinvent yourself. But come on, why do we all wait for the spring to start working out?
Before we really get into it, I have to throw out the disclaimer that your boy, Townie Tim, is an unabashed autumn lover. Fall has a lot: leaves change, apples are the best (as mentioned in a previous column) and I think I look better when I layer my clothing. Seriously, give me a break with the summer hype. I know the outdoor parties and fun sunglass advertisements really make summer seem like the best season. But let’s be honest. Being hot is the worst, and you feel a ton of pressure to go outside and take advantage of the good weather. Give me a nice fall day; it’s crisp, cool, and if I stay in to watch all the Harry Potter films, I won’t feel all that guilty.
Along similar lines, I would like to propose that fall be the official start to the exercise season. Right off the bat, the weather is the best for it, bar none. For the most part, there are not those crazy fluctuations in temperature and the precipitation pattern is more consistent than in the spring. In addition to predictability, you get days that are a little chilly when you step outside in the morning, but once you get the blood flowing it is actually the perfect temperature. There is nothing better than when you go for a run and hit that equilibrium with the outside temperature.
Now that we have established that the physical conditions of fall are great for a workout, let’s delve into the mental side of things. What’s the biggest gym day of the year? That’s right: it’s the first workday after Jan. 1. New Year’s resolutions can be good, but I think somewhere between 80–90% of people fail to keep their resolutions within the first month. I think a large part of that failure is just the hype around New Year’s. If you start a regular workout regimen in the fall, it will mostly remain unnoticed. This is a good thing because you can sort of figure out how your routine is going to go before you roll it out to the world. It is so much better to tell someone in December that you have been running three times a week for the last month rather than telling someone in January that you have planned to run three times a week. When you try to establish a new living pattern, sometimes the weight of the change is unsustainable. Think of fall as more of a trial period.
So before the really cold weather strikes, give the fall workout a try. It is low stakes, the weather is perfect, and in the worst case scenario, you can just push it back to another more traditional time of the year.