Did you make it through Thanksgiving without completely overeating? If you did, congrats—you’re off to a great start! I say “start” because there’s still another month of holiday gatherings to tempt you with sugary cocktails, plentiful appetizers, indulgent dinners, and decadent desserts. What can one do to combat these unhealthy temptations? For starters, you can follow my holiday edition of weekly tips to stay healthy during the holiday season. I’ve already touched on the importance of eating breakfast to avoid overeating and practicing moderation to save room for dessert. Today, I will discuss why and how to incorporate exercise throughout the holiday season. That’s right, I’m talking about exercising BEFORE the New Year!
We all know exercise is good for us. This is probably not news to anyone. But did you know that the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that individuals engage in 30 minutes of moderate to physical activity 5 days/week to maintain a healthy weight? This amount of activity has been shown to reduce the risk of negative health outcomes. I’m not going to spend too much time on the benefits of exercise because they’ve been hammered into our heads over and over again: exercise = healthy weight = healthy body = less sickness = live longer.
Sometimes it’s difficult to fit exercise into our busy schedules, especially when life becomes even busier around the holidays. I want to help with that! This Tip Tuesday provides easy ways to stay active during the holiday season. I want to preface these tips by saying that exercising does not give you a free pass to eat as much as you want. But, exercising consistently throughout the month of December will help maintain your current weight and health status. Here are my guidelines and tips:
- Exercise should be moderate to vigorous. This means that breathing should be labored and it’s difficult to have a full conversation.
- Both aerobic and strength training activities are good forms of exercises during the holidays. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you burn. This usually happens from aerobic activity.
- Engage in physical activity at least 3 days per week. Five days a week is the recommendation, but I know how hard it is to even make that happen for myself, so 3 days a week will keep you on a consistent schedule.
Tips to get you moving:
- Set an exercise schedule and write it down! Writing things down will make you more accountable. Print this December calendar and mark off free days for exercise. Plan ahead for exercise like you do for parties.
- Holiday parties are usually after work, making exercising that day nearly impossible. Instead, commit to working out the day before a holiday party. You will feel like you earned the extra calories you consume.
- The temperature fluctuates throughout December in New York, so take advantage of warmer days by partaking in any of these outdoor healthy activities.
- Don’t let snow trap you indoors. Be a kid again and use snow as your playground. Get outside and build a snowman with your kids, have a snowball fight, build a fort, go on a day ski trip, or shovel some snow. All of these snowy activities are a surefire way to get your heart racing.
- Okay I will admit—sometimes the temperature is really just TOO COLD to go outside! For these days, YouTube has a great compilation of FREE work out videos. My personal favorites are Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, Fitness blender, and Tone It Up. But you can find many other great ones here.
** Use these free videos to workout on holidays when the gym is closed. A 10-20 minute workout in the morning before partying with family will make you feel less guilty when you sit down to an epic dinner.
- Another great way to exercise indoors is to clean the house. You will end up with a tidy house for holiday guests!
What other things keep you active during the holidays? Are these tips helpful? I want to hear from you!