The fall season is one of the best times of the year to get outside and be active. The weather is perfect for all kinds of outdoor sports including hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking.

If you are not feeling ambitious enough for a hike through Rock Cut State Park, walking around your neighborhood with a friend is a great option. You will burn about 100 calories per mile, more if you increase your speed/pace. Walking also has the added bonus of making you feel happy, or happier. Alena Hall, in a recent post on Huffington Post, stated that walking can increase your cognitive abilities and increase your creativity. The good news is that even a short walk will make you feel better and happier.IMG_8079

Going on a bike ride is another activity that can boost your metabolism, mood and brain power. In fact, according to a recent article in Psychology Today, biking can also “build a better brain.” Just like walking, you can choose a path at a designated location, or you can simply bike around your neighborhood. You can make it even more fun by inviting some friends to go, too. Remember your helmet – safety first.

However, one of my favorite activities to do in the fall is to go canoeing down the Kishwaukee River. Canoeing is a low-impact activity but it can increase your muscle strength, especially in the upper arms and chest. It is also a great way to see your city from a different perspective. For me, canoeing is usually an all-day event, so I tend to canoe more on the weekends than during the week (while I am in school). Quite obviously, you do need a canoe to enjoy this activity but you can buy one at most local outdoor stores such as Gander Mountain., MC Sports, or Dicks Sporting Goods. Occasionally, I have seen canoes being sold at Target and Wal-Mart.IMG_8087

I always abide by a few safety guidelines when canoeing alone, or with a friend:
Always tell another person where you will be canoeing
Always let them know an estimated time of your return
Be sure to wear a life jacket while canoeing – even if you are a good swimmer
Place your keys, cell phone and other valuable is a waterproof bag (one that floats)

When canoeing I also like to bring along a cooler with water and some snacks. A long day on the water is a lot of work and you will want to stay hydrated and keep your energy level up! One more tip – don’t forget the oars. You would be surprised how many people arrive at their destination, only to find out they forgot the oars. I might be writing from experience. #rememberoars

You shouldn’t need too much more or advice to be ready to coast your local waters for a day of fun and exploration. Those are my ideas for getting out during the fall weather and being active. If you have any other ideas, which I am sure you do, please email me and I would love to read them and maybe post another blog with your ideas. Check out the email address on our home page.

Written by Robert Raleigh