Holiday Exercise Options

The holidays are a busy time of year for most people. Shopping, parties, family gatherings and all the calorie-rich food can undermine your fitness program. You may not be able to make it to the gym or you may have to skip aerobics to host a holiday party. You can get 30 minutes of exercise every day during the holidays by incorporating exercise into your daily activities.

Get up one half hour earlier in the morning and exercise. Take advantage of the quiet time before the hustle and bustle begins to stretch, lunge and squat. Walk in place for 5 or more minutes and do 50 to 100 jumping jacks to increase your heart rate. Use resistance bands to strengthen your muscles. Do 25 to 50 push-ups and finish off with some more stretches.

Photo by Scott Catron 2009 CC-SA 2.0

Holiday errands like shopping can be a great time to exercise. Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay fit, strengthen muscles and lose weight. Walk to the shopping center if the weather permits. If you drive to the mall, park your car at 100 yards or more away from the entrance and walk. Avoid using the escalator or elevator in the mall. Take the stairs instead. Do some leg lifts and isometric exercises such as abdominal and glute squeezes while standing in line to pay for your purchases.
Traveling during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising regularly. Book a hotel that has a swimming pool or a fitness center. Swim in the morning and take advantage of the exercise equipment in the hotel gym in the evening. Dress warmly and go for a walk to enjoy the holiday decorations and lights. Do some Pilates or yoga routines in the hotel room if there are no facilities in your hotel or if the weather is too cold. 
For more information and tips, see:
WebMD, Health and Fitness, Your Holiday Fitness Program, by Carol Sorgen. 2006
Heart Secrets, Columbia St. Mary’s, You Can Find Time to Exercise During the Holidays!, Kim Beyer. 2009.

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