Fit for Fall

Jeff Howard is a world-renowned fitness presenter who resides in Louisville. He also serves as promotional director of fitness for Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center.
Watch Jeff on WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” at 10 a.m. Mondays!

An upbeat workout to help you prepare for hiking this season

By Jeff Howard
Photos by
Erin Trimble

Models: Kira Russell and Milly Russell
Fox Hollow Farm

The autumn’s brisk weather and gorgeous colors may be off to a bit of a late start for most of us, but I am still welcoming the season with open arms and hiking boots by the door! I could probably come up with 100 great reasons to celebrate fall hiking, but here are my top five:

1. Cooler temps make for MUCH happier hiking dogs, hiking kids and hiking partners. Odds are, complaints will be scarce as they enjoy the beauty around you without worrying about sweat and sunburns.

2. The amazing smells! Deeply inhaling the crisp air while you tromp through the fallen leaves – does it get any better? Maybe when you add in the smell of an evening campfire.

3. The changing colors and vibrant foliage are breathtaking, not to mention a treat for you photography lovers. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, browns with the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

4. Let’s be sure to appreciate the fewer crowds on our fall hikes. With the school year, extra-curricular activities, fall sports and upcoming holidays added on top of the daily grind, the traffic flow on the trails is definitely lighter.

5. I’m going to say it – we like the wardrobe change! Flannels, sweatshirts, layers. Don’t tell me you don’t get excited when you pull that favorite hoodie out for a brisk morning hike.

But if you usually exercise on steady ground in the gym or exercise on the road, you’ll want to start preparing for rougher terrain before hitting your favorite trails. I engaged my good friend Kira and her daughter Milly to start a total body workout plan that will strengthen your lower body and build endurance before you head out on those big hikes.

How it works: Two or three non-consecutive days a week, perform each move in order without resting between exercises. Do two to three sets of each exercise with 16 to 20 reps. Rest for two to three minutes between circuits.

Total time: Up to 30 minutes

You will need: Mat or outdoor space

Plank – Up

Get in a high plank position with wrists positioned below your shoulders and spine straight.

With core engaged, lift the right foot up to the sky, keeping hips and shoulders squared to the mat.

Lower leg back to starting position while simultaneously lifting. Continue, alternating sides.

Speed Skater

Standing with feet hip-width apart, leap out with left foot, crossing the right leg back behind left, toes touching the ground and the right hand reaching across body toward the left foot.

Repeat on the opposite side, leaping out with the right foot while crossing the left leg behind and reaching the left arm across the body. Continue, alternating sides as quickly as possible.

Piston Side Lunge

Start with feet side by side. Pop the heel of the right foot, putting most of your weight on the left.

Step out with right foot, keeping core engaged. Hinge at the hips and bend the right knee, lowering into a side lunge. Simultaneously, keep the left leg fully extended and transition weight to the left foot, hands positioned in front of the chest. Rise and repeat the side-to-side sequence, traveling to the left. Continue on the same side.

Sumo Squat

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out at approximately one o’clock and 11 o’clock positions. Keeping core engaged, hinge at the hips and bend the knees, lowering into a sumo squat position with hands in front of you on the floor.

Lift yourself upwards while sweeping arms overhead, lowering directly into another sumo squat.

Lunge Knee Up

Get in a lunge position with right foot forward, left foot back and both arms forward. Ensure the right knee is in line with the second toe of the right foot.

Maintaining an active lunge position, raise the left foot higher than your hip as quickly as possible while maintaining control. Do all reps before switching sides and repeating.

Deep Hurdlers

Get in a low lunge position with right leg extended back, left knee bent 90 degrees and hands on either side of the left foot.

With core engaged, exhale and jump straight up, driving right knee and left arm forward, swinging the right arm back as both elbows remain bent and close to your sides. Return to starting position then quickly switch feet to repeat on the opposite side. Continue, alternating sides.

Single-Leg Bridge

Lie on a mat, knees bent and feet flat on the ground about 12 inches from hips. With arms down at sides, engage the core and lift hips, coming into a glute bridge.

Maintaining a neutral spine with hips lifted, pick the right foot up and align right knee over right hip, keeping right leg bent.

Push through the right heel and extend the right leg fully, keeping knees aligned.

For reverse movement, bend the right knee before lowering the right foot and then the hips to the ground. Do all reps before switching sides and repeating. V