The holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an exciting and fun-filled time of year. The holidays are filled with family, celebration, excitement, and joy; however, they can also be filled with increased commitments, less free time, stress, and an overabundance of food and alcohol. As a result, many individuals find themselves skipping workouts, eating and drinking excessively, and allowing themselves to give into temptation, which often results in weight gain.
Rather than wait for your New Year’s Resolution, there are many things you can do to prevent those added pounds around the middle. First, workouts should be scheduled on your calendar as appointments that you can’t miss. Next, set goals for yourself, and keep a journal to help you follow through. It is important to remember that exercise not only burns calories and tightens and tones, it also reduces stress, which can definitely help your mood, as you are busy trying to get everything done.
Shopping for loved ones is time consuming and stressful, and unfortunately, it may interfere with your workout schedule. To alleviate this problem, consider online shopping to save time and avoid crowds. Many stores offer free shipping during the holiday season, and the choices of gifts are endless on the Internet. However, if you are a hands-on person and must go to the mall, park your car in one of the last spots in the lot to get some added walking time. Additionally, do a few laps around the mall before committing to a location for shopping. You can also go back and forth with your packages to the car to get increased exercise and avoid straining your back and/or neck by holding heavy items. It might also help to wear a pedometer to keep track of your steps.
There are other ways to incorporate extra physical activity into your routine this time of year. Instead of taking the elevator, opt for the stairs. Also, you can burn more calories by dancing at your holiday party and having fun! You can also work out with family members or play with your kids to incorporate both family and fitness. Winter sports, such as ice skating and skiing, are both social and active, and they will keep you trim during the winter season. Another way to stay focused is to sign up for a race or event and begin training in December. This will keep you motivated to continue with your exercise routine and to push yourself.
As far as food, absolutely enjoy your favorites during the holiday season, but remember to know your limits! Before going to a party, eat a healthy meal or snack at home so you don’t wind up eating a lot of junk. Also, drink plenty of water to maintain fullness. Remember to watch your alcohol intake, because cocktails can add up to quite a lot of calories, plus it can disrupt your sleep and increase your appetite. Consider hosting your own family party so you can be in charge of what is served; that way you can add some healthful options to the menu.
It is also important to try to exercise and to eat right while traveling. You can do pushups, wall sits, and squats in your hotel room. Many hotels have spas and gyms, and if the weather is nice, you can go for a walk or run outside. While dining out, stay away from the bread before the meal and watch your portion sizes.
Give yourself the gift of fitness and health this holiday season. Maintain your weight and your sanity! Happy Holidays!