Believe it or not, the end of summer is within distance. You may be enjoying the season so much that you don't want to admit that, but the truth is that Autumn will be here quicker than you think.

With Autumn often comes a lot of busy days. This is particularly true if you are returning to school or you have children that are. With the extra-curricular activities that come with school, you probably find it difficult to stick to your workout routine, at least until your new Fall schedule becomes commonplace for you.

So, while Fall is often a time when more people eventually head to the gyms, there is often a period of a few weeks where workout routines get completely abandoned. Rather than punish your body for your hectic schedule, find a way to sneak a little bit of physical activity in. Try some different, fun workouts rather than the standard treadmill and gym machines. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Check out a local bike path, walking/hiking trail or lake. Go once or twice a week for just an hour and burn some calories the fun way - by biking, walking, rollerblading, or even canoeing.

Play a sport. Maybe you enjoy the traditional games like volleyball, softball or soccer. Or, if you don't feel you have the skills for those games try something different. How about a game of ultimate Frisbee with friends at the nearby park? When's the last time you tried shuffleboard or bowling? Or, even try something in your back yard. Go to your local sports store and you'll find loads of different backyard games that require little athletic skill yet keep you on your feet and provide a group of friends with an afternoon of laughs.

Do you or your spouse have a honey-do list that's been collecting dust? Check it out and you'll surely find some activities that will burn some muscle and increase your heart rate. Outdoor options that require pulling weeds or raking definitely fit the bill. Also, cleaning out a garage or painting a room can offer great benefits.

Organize a charity event. Helping others makes us feel mentally good. A great way to both help others and simultaneously yourself is to organize an exercise-related charity program. This doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming. It can be as simple as getting a group of neighbors together and agreeing to walk X miles on a given day. Then ask other neighbors to donate a small amount to support your walk. All the money that you raise can be given to the favorite charity of your group.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Bode