Do you want to set yourself up for fitness success this season? So often, we save our health-related resolutions for the days following the New Year. But to experience long-term fitness fulfillment, start acting on your workout wishes now.

The fall season offers the best workout conditions to help kick-start healthier living. Unlike the dark and dreary winter months, fall’s fresh, crisp air and ever-changing scenery create an engaging and exciting exercise environment. For parents, fall also marks a sweet spot when the kids are back to school, allowing more time for personal pursuits.

But what really makes this the most opportune time to tone up is its pre-holiday position on the calendar. October through January marks some of the most calorically catastrophic days of the year. With Halloween’s family-size bags of tempting treats, gobbling until you wobble on Thanksgiving, and a December spent devouring decadent dishes and drinks, there are endless opportunities to overindulge. By the time January rolls around, you may have dug a difficult ditch to crawl out from to return to your pre-holiday weight.

Save yourself from having to make the same, stale, “get in shape” resolution in 2022 by making fitness a priority right now. By implementing these healthy habits today, you’ll make better choices during the tempting times to come.

Walk once a day

Stepping outside for a stroll is one of the easiest ways to exercise, as it requires no equipment. In just 30 minutes a day, you can substantially improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen bones, boost balance, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fire up those feel-good endorphins.

To really reap the rewards of walking, try to add a little pep to your step by walking at a quick pace for five minutes, followed by a more moderate pace for five minutes. Not only will this prevent boredom, it will ramp up your heart rate, burn more calories, and make fitness fun.

» READ MORE: The health benefits of working out with your dog

Try something new

Nothing kills motivation faster than a monotonous fitness routine. If you’ve been practicing the same moldy movements year after year, it’s time for a change. By incorporating a fresh fitness routine every other week, or even just modifying one move, you’ll prevent overuse injuries and avoid hitting progress plateaus.

Try these simple switch-ups during your next workout. Substitute the following basic exercise for a more creative circuit.

Squats

Take it to the next level by incorporating a chair.

  • Sit on the edge of a seat with your legs and feet parallel. Push through your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes at the top.

  • Gravity is your friend when it comes to making a routine more challenging. On the way down, continue to keep your weight in the heels and lower your glutes until they are hovering over the seat. Hold for five counts then push through your heels to stand. Repeat eight times.

» READ MORE: 3 exercises that should have a permanent spot in your workout routine

Lunges

Boost your balance further and stimulate your upper body by adding a light weight.

  • Stand tall with your weighted object in both hands and take a step back with your right leg. Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle, with your front knee behind your toes and weight distributed evenly between your front heel and the back ball of your foot.

  • While holding a lunge, extend the weight overhead. Hold for a count, then lower it with your right arm so your arm is parallel with the floor. Return your right arm overhead and repeat with your left arm. Bring overhead once more, lower the weight to your chest, and push through your front heel to stand. Repeat this sequence on the opposite leg. Alternate legs for eight reps.

Sit-ups

Give your neck a rest and use your weight from above for a powerful plank. Planks will target more abdominal muscles and torch more calories than a sit-up, and are safer on your neck and spine.

  • From a plank pose, place your weight on the right side of your body.

  • Reach your left hand underneath your body to grab the weight. Pull the weight across your body, resting it on your left side. Repeat the same sequence with your right arm now. Avoid letting your hips shift as you move the weight. Continue this back-and-forth sequence for 10 counts.

» READ MORE: Rest days are important to your fitness goals, so maximize your time off

Snack on seasonals

You can’t out-exercise bad eating habits. In other words, trying to burn off whatever foods you ate is an unhealthy method for managing your weight. Instead, stock your shopping cart with seasonal fruits and vegetables that are more nutritious, are at their peak freshness, and thus will taste better.

Another bonus of seasonal foods is that they tend to be cheaper because they’re more readily available. Fill up on nourishing fall fruits and veggies such as apples, broccoli, squash, cabbage, and beets this season.

Autumn is the perfect time to fall in love with fitness.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.