Staying Fit Through The Holiday Season

It’s that time again. Time to think about all the turkey, trimmings, pies, cookies and cocktail parties that start at Thanksgiving and run right through New Year’s. While this is supposed to be a season filled with joy and wonder, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s also a time filled with stress, as we figure out how to get all the shopping, decorating and other holiday prep done on top of work, taking care of the kids and our other daily obligations. But that doesn’t mean you should put the sneakers and workout wear away until 2012. In fact, the extra stress and calories thrown at us at this time of year should make finding time to exercise more important than ever. It could be just what your mind and body need to actually enjoy some holiday cheer!

It may feel like there are fewer hours in the day with everything that needs to get done. If you normally spend more than an hour at the gym or take 90-minute power walks with your friends in the neighborhood, chances are you’re going to need to spend some of those minutes elsewhere. So, here are some tips on how to fit fitness into your busy holiday schedule:

  • Switch things up: Try working out in the morning. Trust me, I know this isn’t easy. I’m a post-work workout gal myself. However, at this time of year, if you can hit the gym, take a walk or pop in your Zumba DVD first thing in the morning, you’ll have gotten your exercise routine out of the way and you won’t feel so guilty about going to that holiday get together later that night.
  • Try group exercise classes: Most classes run approximately 60 minutes and can take the guesswork out of planning your own routine. Give total body conditioning or strength training classes a shot as they get your heart rate up and hit all the major muscle groups in a 60-minute window. The group environment also gives you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone else who may have his or her own survival tips for the holiday season!
  • Make shopping physical: If you drive to a mall, don’t look for the closest parking spot to the entrance. Also, be sure to change out of the heels or dress shoes into sneakers to help your body walk in good form while you’re rushing around.
  • Arm yourself with healthy snacks: If you’re running from work to shop, chances are you’ll be hungry. So instead of letting the smell of cinnamon, chocolate or some other temptation get the best of you, have some almonds or a high-fiber snack bar in your bag.
  • Don’t arrive hungry: Just like it’s a bad idea to go to happy hour on an empty stomach, don’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday party feeling ravenous. If you’re eating late in the day, have portion-controlled healthy meals leading up to the “big” meal and a snack up to an hour before arriving at the feast. This will prevent you from grabbing the first high-calorie, high-fat item you see.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday when I’ll have some more eating tips to help you stay on track during this season so you can continue on your path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Posted on November 21, 2011, in Fitness, Health, Nutrition and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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