The air is chilly, the leaves are changing color, and pumpkins are everywhere, which can only mean one thing—fall is here! While I will miss beach days, barbecues, and summer nights, I’m excited for autumn activities. Don’t hide indoors as the temperatures cool down in the Northeast. Fall is one of the best seasons to be physically active and indulge in healthy seasonal fare. Try any of these 10 fall activities to enjoy the changing of the seasons with a healthy twist:
- Apple and Pumpkin Picking. No list of fall activities would be complete without apple and pumpkin picking. Enjoy time with your family outside in the crisp air while spending the day on your feet. Add a little healthy competition by challenging your loved ones to find the biggest/reddest apple.
- Cook a healthy apple dish. After you spend the day picking your favorite apples, cook up a healthy apple dish. Avoid the temptation to make an appley dessert, and try these Maple Apple Chips or Apple S’mores instead.
- Carve a Jack O’ Lantern. Now that you have pumpkins at home, think of a fun design and get carving! Knifing through and scooping out the pumpkin requires some serious muscle. As an added bonus, the seeds are perfect for roasting with salt and olive oil. I recently carved a pumpkin for the first time as an adult, and I can guarantee it’s an activity for people of all ages!
- Botanical Gardens. Hands down, the foliage is one of my favorite parts of fall. What better way to experience the beautiful red, yellow, and orange greenery than to visit a botanical garden. I recently visited the NY Botanical Garden and spent 4 hours walking and exploring the 250 acre terrain.
- Visit a zoo. On the next sunny fall day, head to the zoo to enjoy time on your feet with wild animals. While visiting the zoo this past weekend, I walked over 5 miles! I had such a good time that I didn’t even notice that I spent the day exercising.
- Sign up for a race. Fall is my favorite time to run. I have a hard time keeping my mileage and speed up during the hot and humid summer. Fall’s 50-60 degree temperatures make running incredibly easier. Don’t believe me? Sign up for a 5K in December and train for it during the fall months. I suggest the Jingle Bell Jog for NYers. It’s a fun race in Prospect Park, where participants dress in their favorite Christmas garb.
- Hike. Hiking is another great way to see fall foliage and enjoy the mountain air. Hiking may seem like an intense activity, but there are trails for people of all skill levels. Bear Mountain in NY has flat easy terrain as well as steep difficult hikes.
- Visit a Farmers Market. Farmers markets showcase a variety of beautiful colors in the fall. Orange squash, green brussel sprouts, purple eggplant, and white cauliflower are just some, to name a few. Visit your local farmers market to pick up a variety of fall fruits and vegetables and make a healthy colorful dish at home, like my Warm Autumn Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprout and Squash. Challenge yourself to buy as many colors as you can find!
- Haunted theme park. Visiting a haunted theme park is another fantastic activity for walking around and getting your heart racing. Try Six Flags Fright Fest or haunted corn maze. Just be wary of the fried and sugary foods at theme parks. Pack your own lunch and snacks to save money and calories.
- Rake leaves. After you marvel at the beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaves, they will inevitably fall into your yard. Rather than pay a landscaper or neighborhood kid to rake them up, do it yourself. Get your daily workout in while doing housework—you will really work up a sweat and get your heart