It’s the most wonderful time of the year again – which means for the next few weeks your schedules will be filled with cookie swaps, holiday parties and traveling. From now until the New Year, diet and exercise routines are put on hold while we try to juggle all those extra errands and activities that come along with the holidays.
Not surprisingly, by the end of all of the festivities, our waistlines tend to reflect the lack of exercise and extra sweets that we indulged in. To stay active, prevent holiday weight gain, and help maintain your sanity during a stressful time of year (In-laws visiting for a week? Great!) try squeezing in time for some activity each day, whether it’s a morning run or bike ride, a trip to the gym, or a walk around the neighborhood with the dog. Getting active each day can be great for you and your family, so for a little inspiration, check out some of these suggestions for staying active during the holidays:
Interval training is a great option if you’re short on time but still want to fit in a difficult workout routine. You can complete the workouts with or without weights, and oftentimes you can do the routines from the comfort of your own home. The Huffington Post suggests trying out this routine:
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds then repeat the same circuit two to three times. Please remember to begin your exercise with a light warm-up and end it with a cooldown and stretching (to get the most out of this workout, and to speed up your metabolism, try to only take short breaks in between each exercise).
Wide Leg Squat
Run On The Spot
Close hand push up
Participate in a Holiday-Themed Fitness Event
The holidays are the perfect time to start a new tradition with the family, and a great way to blend holiday cheer and fitness by participating in a local fun run. The CarMax Tacky Light Run, hosted in the festive Walton Park neighborhood, boasts over-the-top light decorations, runners dressed to the nines in holiday garb, and a great finish festival (with plenty of holiday cookies – you’ve earned them).
Go For a Walk
If you’re not a fan of the gym or using weights, try adding a daily walk into your schedule. Even shorter walks, at a quick pace, can boost your mood for up to two hours afterwards, according to Robert Thayer, Ph.D, in a recent article from Real Simple. To make this activity even more fun, try getting the entire family together to go out and enjoy the holiday decorations in your neighborhood.
Download an App
Traveling this holiday season? Don’t have access to a gym? Try packing a set of light hand weights in your suitcase and downloading an app to your phone for quick exercises to do with the weights. There is a huge variety of fitness, training, and activity tracking apps that are both free and available in the app store for iPhone and Android mobile devices. If you don’t have hand weights, modify the moves and use bodyweight instead. Either way you’re sure to get in a tough workout that doesn’t require a trip to the gym and can be done almost anywhere.
Start Your Resolution Early
Making fitness a priority is one of the most common resolutions made every year. This year, instead of waiting for January to commit to a healthier lifestyle, why not start your goals early and get ahead of the game for 2016. Maybe this is the year that you decide to get a gym membership, try a new sport, or sign up for a race. The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, held on April 9, is a great celebration of our active community and is good for runners and walkers of all skill and experience levels. For a little extra encouragement, try signing up for the YMCA 10k Training Team. The teams meet from January until April and provide individual plans and group training sessions to participants.
The holidays are a great time of year but can come with their fair share of stress and hectic schedules (as well as plenty of holiday sweets). Maintaining an active lifestyle and finding time each day for some exercise can add to your celebrations and help get 2016 started off on the right foot!