Fall is Functional

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

Has anyone else noticed this is the year of the acorns? My yard is absolutely littered with acorns! I love the fall season; it’s my absolute favorite time of year to be outside. But it’s like walking on marbles out there!

So my choice is to either rake up the acorns now, or pluck 10,000 little oak trees in the spring. I’m going to go with the rake.

Yard work is a killer workout. Actually, it’s a really functional workout. You’ve probably heard your personal trainer talk about making your exercise program functional. What that means is relating the movements of your fitness routine back to everyday life. When you are using a rake or lifting a bag of mulch you’re not seated while pushing/pulling in a straight line. Functional movement, like yard work, encompasses reaching, pulling, pushing, squatting, lifting, and rotating all in some unique and beautiful sequence.

Take raking for example. Think lift, reach, lower, pull, rotate, squat, pick up leaves, repeat. Fun, right?

So when you’re working in the yard think of how you can relate your movement to the lunges, squats, pushes and pulls you do at the gym. Keep your core muscles active while utilizing your big muscle groups you’ve trained to help you with the load. Here are a few quick reminders:

  1. Bend at the knees, not at your back
  2. Lift with your legs (a strong muscle group for Men and Women)
  3. Keep your Abs tight to protect your back
  4. Don’t over-do-it with an all day endeavor
  5. Take breaks and ask for help when needed

Sure we will be cleaning up leaves and acorns for the next few months but look at the bright side — we’ve said goodbye to the heat and humidity of summer and hello to cool, crisp fall air.