Don’t let the holidays completely stop you from exercising!  No matter how physically active you are, the holiday season is notorious for disrupting routines.  Schedules become packed with festive parties, holiday dinners, baking, shopping for gifts, family gatherings, and more.  It’s easy to start neglecting your workouts to accommodate all the other festivities and obligations.

So, how does someone try to stay active during this time?  The most important thing to keep in mind is that life is all about BALANCE.  It’s okay if you’re not exercising as much as you’d like because you’re so busy!  However, you don’t want to be completely sedentary the duration of the season. You also don’t want to prioritize exercising in a way that completely prevents you from enjoying this time with your loved ones.  Again, it’s all about balance – acknowledging that you may not be able to work out as much as usual during the holiday season, but still finding time to fit in movement when you can! 

Here are some quick tips to help you stay fit this holiday season:

  • Add in extra steps when you can.
    • Running to the store to pick up a gift or last-minute ingredients?  Park farther away than usual from the store to get some extra steps in.  If you have the time, you can also walk down each aisle of the store, even if you know you don’t need anything from a particular one.
    • Suggest an after-dinner walk!  Even if it’s a quick walk around the block, it’s a great way to get moving after sitting through dinner.
  • Take the stairs.
    • Whether it’s your office, apartment building, or the mall – try to take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.
  • Start your days with activity.
    • Before your day gets too crazy, get that workout in!  By doing it in the morning, you can get it out of the way and set the tone for the rest of your day.  Set aside your exercise clothes and anything else you may need (water bottle, sneakers, etc.) the night before to save time and eliminate any reasons (read: excuses) to skip your workout the next morning.
  • Try to stand up and walk around for a few minutes at least once an hour.
    • This is a great way to avoid sitting for a prolonged period of time.  Many smart watches, such as the Apple watch, can remind you to stand and move around each hour.  Don’t have a smart watch?  No problem – simply set a reminder on your phone!
  • Schedule mini workout breaks throughout the day.
    • Remember that you can break up your exercise in small bouts throughout the day.  If you’re watching a show with the family and a commercial break comes on, use it to get in some exercises like squats, jumping jacks, or pushups.
    • Bingeing a show on Netflix instead?  In between episodes, be sure to get up and get in some movement!
  • Start a friendly competition with friends.
    • What’s more motivating than a friendly competition with friends?  Choose a metric that works best for you both – such as amount of group exercise classes, number of steps, minutes of exercise, miles on a bike, etc. – and see who can get more each week!

It’s just as important to stay physically active during the holidays as it is other times of the year. Even when life gets busy, try to find ways to add small bits of movement to balance out your day. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You’d be surprised how a little bit here and there can add up to something big in the end.

Happy Holidays to you and yours and remember to keep moving!

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