(BPT) - As the days grow shorter and Old Man Winter makes his appearance, many of us are tempted to bundle up and stay indoors. But don't let the changing weather keep you from nature's beauty and the potential of outdoor adventure.
Keep these tips in mind as the mercury falls and keep your weekend itinerary packed year round.
Gear up and go
Sleek windproof gloves. Comfortable waterproof boots. A classic wool cap. Developments in modern fabric technology can make virtually any outdoor environment comfortable and enjoyable. Modern synthetics keep wind and moisture out while keeping you warm and dry on the inside. And today's advanced wool garments are comfortable, washable - and they don't itch.
Quick adventures for short days
The shorter days of the 'brr' months, starting with 'Septembrr,' need not keep you from longer treks. Take advantage of modern technology like an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to get you out and back quickly and safely. Industry sources report more than 200,000 new ATVs registered in 2011 and millions more in use since the category launched more than four decades ago. American Honda makes a host of quiet, reliable fuel-injected ATVs here in the U.S. like the Rancher, Foreman and Big Red that bring the outdoors within reach even on short winter days.
ATVs match up well with a variety of outdoor activities - for example, bird watching, the fastest-growing outdoor activity in the United States. Based on a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 51.3 million Americans report that they watch birds. Today's powerful yet compact and maneuverable ATVs can easily transport riders to a birder's paradise full of colorful species - especially appreciated when aching joints make the elusive migratory fowl just too far to reach on foot. Put the automatic transmission in 'drive' and that spectacular out-of-the-way fall fishing spot is just minutes away, too.
And, of course, when the weekend plans include outdoor chores, ATVs have proven to be dependable workhorses, helping with everything from mowing and leaf raking to snow plowing.
Same fun, better exercise
When your body works hard to stay warm, you burn more calories. Physicians warn against overdoing it, but keeping up a regular routine throughout the fall and winter can pay huge dividends when swimsuit weather comes around next spring.
Statistics indicate that winter hibernation and stagnation can add between five and 10 pounds annually to an individual's weight. Log a few extra laps around your favorite calorie-burning loop and you'll be amazed at how much more of a workout you get than on a treadmill.
What kicks are you sporting?
Don't let a little snow or ice stand in the way of getting outdoors. Think of this as your chance to walk on water. Embrace the cooler months with the right footwear and equipment. When the snowflakes fall, strap on some cross-country skis or high-tech aluminum snowshoes to log the miles. Public park facilities regularly groom trails for affordable outdoor recreation, and in many cases, special introductory programs for equipment make it easy to 'try before you buy.'
And if you'd like to get even deeper into the remote beauty of nature, ATVs can handle the elements, turning a couple of inches of powder into a great adventure across approved groomed trails. And when lakes freeze over with more that six inches of safe ice, ATVs serve anglers with reliable transportation to and from their personal ice houses or secret honey holes.
With the right equipment and the right attitude, you can kick-start your adventures and stoke the passion for the outdoors in every season.