Dashing through the department store trying to find those last minute gifts you realize you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning and you still have to mail those cards and…the possibility of fitting in some exercise now, during this crazy holiday season seems impossible.
But making exercise a priority is important for our weight loss efforts, our energy level and our sanity. In fact, one of the best things you can do to make the holidays go smoother and your celebrations happier is to take the time to fit in some exercise. And while the holidays are a crazed time, fitting in exercise is possible.
Workout first thing in the morning that way you can make sure your daily obligations don't get in the way of exercising. Even if you're not a morning person, making this adjustment, at least in the short term, can help ensure you fit in that workout. And as an added bonus, research has shown that exercising in the morning improves sleep. And a good night's sleep helps keep our weight in check.
Make your holiday celebrations active. A holiday celebration by definition doesn’t have to be about food. Why not make it about having fun with family and friends in an active way? An afternoon spent ice skating or taking a brisk walk to view your neighborhood’s light displays can be a fun tradition and will allow you to spend time with loved ones and still eke out some exercise.
Combine your workouts. If you really only have 30 minutes, then make it the most efficient 30 minute workout you can. Combine cardio with strength training; include interval bursts while doing cardio and/or include super sets while lifting weights. Think intensity as opposed to duration. Make it short, sweet and effective.
Go sledding. Remember how much fun snowy days used to be? Relive the fun: sledding is not a kid-only activity. You'll burn tons of calories lugging the sled uphill and think about the great core workout you'll get laughing the whole way down!
Shovel your sidewalk and volunteer to do a neighbor’s. Not only will you get your heart rate going, work your back and shoulder muscles, but you’ll also be spreading good will.
Hand-deliver your holiday cards. Sure the Post Office needs the cash, but think of all the calories you could burn by walking around delivering the cards on foot. While it may not be possible for everyone on your list, even a short walk can do wonders for your overall health.
The reality is, we're all busy, especially during the holidays. But if we don't consciously make the time to fit in some exercise, we won't. And come New Year's we'll be feeling sluggish and out of shape, and in no mood to celebrate the new year. So instead, make this an active holiday season and start off 2012 the healthiest year ever!