The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, full of friends, family, celebrations and usually delicious yet fattening foods. So, it’s more important than ever to keep physically active during the Christmas holiday season. Here are some tips for keeping your activity level up when the holidays roll around.
Make a Date with Exercise
It may not be exciting or glamorous, but it works: make a commitment to exercise daily. Not only that, but set up a time to exercise. If it’s on your calendar, you’re much more likely to stick to it. Exercising in the mornings is a great idea: it helps you wake up and revs up your metabolism for the entire day.
If early morning exercise doesn’t work for you, set another time; perhaps at lunch time or after dinner. Try not to exercise within two hours of going to bed, so that the extra burst of energy that you’ll get from your workout won’t keep you awake.
Celebrate with Friends – Not Food
Most of our holiday celebrations center around food. Consider starting a tradition of a holiday party with healthy foods, or a get-together centered around visiting and not fattening but fabulous cookies. Chances are, your guests will appreciate time with you that won’t further jeopardize their waistlines.
After holiday parties, try to take a brisk walk outside. Watching a winter football game? How about taking a walk outside during halftime? If your weather is too dicey to permit outdoor walking, malls are a great place to walk in a temperature-controlled setting. Many malls even have early hours available specifically for walkers.
When you’re out Christmas shopping, avoid the endless circling of the parking lot to find the closest space – do yourself a favor and save time as well by parking far out and walking in. The exercise will do you good!
Going to the third or fourth floor of a building for an appointment? Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s a little thing, but especially during the holidays, little things add up when it comes to keeping active.
Incorporate the Outdoors
If weather permits, plan some outdoor activities with your family during the holidays. You could go to a tree farm and walk among the candidates for perfect Christmas tree. You could visit a state forest or park and go wildlife watching or pinecone gathering. Most all climates permit at least some outdoor activity – and the cold air will make you feel alive and ready to tackle the next challenge.
All this to say: keep active during the holiday season. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity daily for adults. Make this your goal during the Christmas season, and push yourself to try for even a bit more. Can you fit 15 extra minutes of physical activity into your day? If so, chances are you’ll feel better and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those ever-lurking holiday pounds.