Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag

Like it or not, summer is coming to a close. Grilled chicken and veggies in the backyard and the natural draw to sweat under the sun will soon be replaced by two things: leaves and snowflakes. Your healthy habits during the warm months may have helped you tone up or shed a few pounds, so don’t let the change of seasons put a damper on your progress. Keep your summer body strong, healthy and kicking into the colder months with these four tips!

1. Be Cautious of Comfort Foods

Summer isn’t known for its pumpkin, peppermint or apple. But guess what? Fall sure is. Sliced watermelon and just-picked blueberries tend to give way to caramel apples, pumpkin pies, peppermint hot chocolates, and bowls full of Halloween candy. If you’re going to treat yourself, do exactly that: Treat it like a treat. If you get in the habit of grabbing one or two pieces of Halloween candy every time you leave the house, your summer body will be the first thing that suffers. Instead, indulge once or twice a week and enjoy every bite without guilt and preferably not on the run. Oh, and be conscious of everyone’s favorite drink of the season: the Pumpkin Spice Latte. A grande will set you back 380 calories. Skip the whip and go skim instead of 2 percent, and you’ll instantly knock it down to 260 calories.

2. Stay Hydrated to Stay Healthy

A sweaty summer day has us chugging that H2O like a pro, but as the temperature drops, our trips to the water cooler become less frequent. You might not feel as thirsty without the hot sun beating down on you, but trust us, your body still needs major water intake to function (and look!) as healthy as possible. Many studies have made a connection between drinking water and losing weight. Water simply helps you feel full, which can lead to a lower calorie intake during the day. And if you’re looking to maintain your summer tone at the gym, your best strength-training sessions will come with proper hydration; muscles need water to avoid exhaustion and function at their best. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends 91 ounces of water daily for women and 125 ounces for men through various beverages (80 percent) or from food (20 percent). That’s more than the common “eight 8-ounce glasses” a day recommendation!

3. Use Fall Clean-up as a Workout

To feel beach-ready all year, finding sneaky ways to exercise throughout the day is key. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, but they don’t specify how or where. Why not tackle your yard and long to-do list by subbing a little elbow grease for the gym. According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound person burns 149 calories raking leaves for 30 minutes and 186 calories while cleaning out the gutters. Don’t forget the other tasks: fertilizing the lawn, organizing the garage and preparing your garden for winter.

4. Don’t Use Less Daylight as an Excuse to Not Exercise

June 21, the longest day of the year, is but a sweet summer memory. The current reality is that days are getting shorter and nights are getting longer, and less sunlight inevitably means more time spent inside. Mix it up. Forty-five minutes on the treadmill every single day could make anybody bored. Rotate your cardio machines throughout the week (ever tried rowing?) and don’t stick solely to dumbbells for strength training. A medicine ball, TRX Suspension Trainer and bodyweight exercises are all great variations. If you once relished 6 a.m. runs in the morning light, you will need to make adjustments to keep your summer fitness momentum going. Find a running buddy so you can run safely in the dark or switch to a cardio workout class before work. Sunny beach workouts consisting of swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding can’t be dropped without a replacement activity or your hard work will fade. Try indoor rock climbing or try out a CrossFit class. Who knows? Your new winter activity might just become your favorite!

If you're interested in working with an ACE Certified Personal trainer or ACE Health Coach to help you maintain or improve your current health and fitness levels, click here to locate an ACE professional in your area.