The holidays can be action packed, but often times that action does not include an exercise routine, which means weight gain becomes an issue and any weight loss goals fall by the wayside.
You’re too busy shopping, wrapping gifts, baking goodies, visiting with family and friends, you’re stressed out – these are just some of the excuses to avoid exercise during the holiday season. The problem is, the holidays come with alcohol and calorie filled gatherings and busy schedules, which can all add up to weight gain.
Studies show that doing holiday exercises help ease stress and keep your energy up at this busy time of year. It also means that you don’t have to start your regular exercise routine from scratch once the New Year rolls around.
Weight loss is one of the biggest goals for people in the New Year, and in many cases it has to do with weight gained during the holiday celebrations. Staying healthy during the holidays will make it easier on you in the long run.
Stay motivated to exercise during the holidays
Holiday exercises may not be easy since it is a stressful time, and for some people a sad time; however, it might help you to know that exercise allows us to cope better by improving mood. Weight loss and having an overall sense of well-being will help you feel better about yourself and will likely help you be the kind of person you want to be for others.
Some holiday weight loss tips include tracking your food intake in a journal, using a smaller plate and counting calories.
Setting aside all other weight loss tips, consider this – according to research conducted at the University of Texas, just acknowledging that you are maintaining an exercise program can have an impact on your energy level. When you are happy with yourself for making an effort, you have a higher sense of energy throughout the day.
Often times, involving other people in your exercise routine can be motivating. This way you rely on each other to show up. It could be as simple as gathering co-workers for a regular lunchtime walk or organizing weekend activities with family and friends.
When you feel you don’t want to participate in your regular exercise routine, use the holiday as an opportunity to explore a new activity. You might discover something you really enjoy.
Exercise to stay fit during the holiday season
Staying healthy during the holidays does not have to be boring. There are ways you can spice it up so that it is fun to exercise. For example, dancing is a fun and effective form of exercise. Some people dance while they are decorating the house or baking in the kitchen. Many people report that they don’t feel like they are exercising; they are just having a good time.
If you are in the kitchen for a long period of time, there are steps you can take to keep your heart rate up. One of the holiday fitness tips recommended by personal trainers is to do some curls with a couple of jugs of water while you are waiting for something to finish baking. You can also use a kitchen chair to do some slow squats.
You should weigh yourself regularly. Studies show that people who weight themselves regularly are better at maintaining their weight. They are also more likely to stick with a weight loss program, such as regular exercise routines.
If you don’t want to have any eating restrictions during the holiday season, you should seriously consider extending your usual exercise program. So, if you normally do cardio for 30 minutes then extend it to 45 minutes during the holidays and right after the holidays. If weight training is normally a part of your fitness routine then add a few extra reps.
Many people find that during the holidays it is easier to exercise first thing in the morning. This means you get it done and the rest of the day you can focus on all the running around that is required during the festive season.
Quick exercise tips for the holidays
It’s not like we don’t see the holidays coming, we anticipate and plan for special occasions each year, so why not do the same planning when it comes to our exercise? There are many healthy holiday exercise tips we can apply to our schedules. Of course, staying active will keep those calories off, but it will also help with all that added tension from the holiday rush.
You might find the following exercise tips for the holiday season helpful.
- Search for walking or hiking trails near your home or close to where you might be traveling.
- If you are staying with family, friends, or are traveling, find out if there is a gym nearby.
- Keep it simple. Write down a 10-15 minute workout plan, and if you have to, do it in a bedroom without any gym equipment.
- If traveling, bring resistance bands so you can do stretches when you get a few minutes here and there.
- Walk as much as possible. You can walk extra laps at the mall once you have finished shopping.
- Help shovel snow or rake leaves.
- If everyone else is watching TV, get on the floor and do some push-ups or sit-ups.
- Pulling the kids uphill on a sled or taking the family skiing or snowshoeing are great forms of exercise.
- Organize your day the evening before so you can fit some sort of exercise into your schedule.
The bottom line is that something is better than nothing. You can get creative when you don’t have access to a gym, special equipment and don’t have a great deal of extra time.
Tips to exercise in cold weather
In some states people use the excuse that it is just “too cold” to exercise, but there are tips for staying healthy during the holidays that apply to cold weather. If you find that cold weather is holding you back from maintaining an exercise program during the holidays consider these tips:
- Try ice-skating instead of your regular routine. You can go to a local pond or a rink, which won’t include a wind chill.
- Add a layer of thermal underwear. It will keep you warm and dry.
- Try an indoor, home routine. Yoga, Pilates and aerobics are some examples.
- Set up your own gym. This could include a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine.
While holiday exercises are important, it is also important to cut yourselves a little bit of slack during the festive season. It is supposed to be a time to have fun with family and friends. Having too strict an attitude about weight loss and exercise can stress you out and you may just end up giving up on fitness altogether. Personal trainers admit even they give themselves a few cheat days during the holiday season.
The most important thing to remember is to balance the overall calories that you consume with the physical activity you participate in over the holiday season. Too many holiday treats and not enough activity will lead to weight gain and make it so much harder for you to get back into your regular routine after the holidays.