Everyone knows the holidays are a time for eating. There is no way around it. It is a fact. Therefore, exercise is a must during this time. If you don’t find a way to have some kind of balance, you will gain weight. The average American is known to gain 8-12 pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year. In Michigan, where it is cold, we tend to fall into hibernation mode — but not this year.
Here’s how to win the battle of the bulge this holiday season without necessarily becoming a gym rat.
4 Easy Ways to Keep Moving
- Commercial workouts — I am doing them now, inspired by the Victoria Secret Angels fashion show I’m watching on TV. Commercial workouts are short bursts of activity that you do in-between your favorite television show to avoid being a couch potato. The plan is to change the exercise you are doing when the commercial changes. You can do anything from cardiovascular activity; walking in place, running in place, high knee running in place, jumping jacks, jumping rope or burpees. You can also do some resistance training: sit-ups, push-ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, calf raises, Turkish get-ups, or if you have some dumbbells you can use those to strengthen your muscles too. Don’t forget that you can also stretch during commercials to elongate your muscles. Many people forget the importance of stretching as part of the normal workout routine. The beauty of a commercial workout is that it also can be a kitchen cooking workout too. Think about when food is simmering or baking you can get a quick workout in at that time too.
- Walk — Everyone can do it. It is simple and can be done anywhere. I recommend a good pair of shoes. You can walk outside, on a treadmill, around your house, in the mall. You can also park your car further to walk a little more or take an extra lap or two around the grocery store before you start shopping. While you are shopping at your favorite mall for gifts, take the long way and get those steps in. A great motivator and tracker of steps is a pedometer. I recommend that you get one and wear it everyday. With a pedometer, you can see how sedentary you really are now. It is also a way you can set a goal for the number of steps to get in daily. Five thousand steps per day will help you maintain your weight, but if you are trying to lose weight the recommendation is to get 10,000 steps per day.
- Fun with family and friends — Participating in fun activities with your loved ones gives you accountability and benefits everyone. This can simply be getting your family to do commercial workouts with you to having a mall-walking buddy. When you have others cheering you on it makes it feel less like a workout and more like fun. Also try finding something you love, whether it be yoga, Zumba, water aerobics, boxing, your favorite workout video or class or just turning on music and dancing around your house. I have been known to do that once or twice. Music is also such a great motivator, so make a fun play list and get moving. Your body will thank you for it. Do you have a favorite song that gets you in the mood to workout?
- Schedule your workout — I know it sounds simple, but planning your workouts ahead of time will help you stay organized during the very busy holiday season. Remember that you don’t have to go to the gym for two hours every day to make it count. I always say, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Therefore, if you only have a half-hour, then go for half an hour. Make it work for you and be very realistic about your workout routine. If you know that once you get home from work you are not going to head to the gym, pack your gym bag so you can stop at the gym on your way home. Or if you know you can only squeeze in a workout bright and early in the morning, then make sure you go to bed early enough so that the snooze button doesn’t get overused. If you usually workout five days per week and it is not going to happen in December, then schedule three days. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t make it, but also don’t blow it off. Try to make up for it on another day.
You can do it. Keep on moving and don’t hibernate this holiday season. Your body, mind, stress level and new year’s resolutions will thank you for it.
I would love to hear what ideas you have to keep yourself motivated and exercising during a busy time. How do you beat the holiday bulge?
Photo Credit: M.V. Jantzen