Fitting in Fitness during the Holiday Season

by Marsha Hudnall MS, RDN, CD

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Staying fit during the holidays | Exercise Tips for Staying SuccessfulWith all of the planning, shopping, gift wrapping, and baking, the holiday season often makes us wonder whether fitness will remain part of our lives during this time. The answer is that it absolutely can if we make a holiday fitness plan. The benefits?  At the least, it’s a great stress management tool!

Making a Holiday Fitness Plan

Step 1: Add fitness to your “To Do” list.
Step 2: Re-work your goals – are they realistic? Think maintenance — just stay active whatever way works for you.
Step 3: Acknowledge you have to be flexible because you have less time available.

5 Holiday Fitness Strategies

With a goal of feeling great during the season of plenty, these ideas add fun and efficiency to your holiday fitness plan.

  • Combine fitness & family. Move and laugh with your loved ones while you snowshoe, sled, ice skate, take a hike, play a game of snowball or nerfball tag, or make a snowman!
  • Work out while you work. Shoveling snow, chopping wood, moving furniture for cleaning, all these home maintenance activities can be hard work. Be sure to lift heavy items properly to protect your back.
  • Work out while you shop. Travel the mall at a brisk pace while window shopping; your bags of purchases add extra weight to boost your workout. Make sure to take the stairs instead of the escalator. You can also do calf or toe raises while standing in line.
  • Keep it short. Aim for just 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular work — in 10-minute bouts. Fit it in when it works for you.
  • Be efficient. Combine two exercises into one, like doing a chest press while performing a pelvic tilt or reverse curl (knees up) to work abdominal muscles. Yoga and Pilates offer both strength and flexibility in one class.

It’s important to make ourselves a priority, especially when we can so easily get consumed with other things during the holiday season. If you make time for holiday fitness, however, you’ll add to the good feelings this season is all about.