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“Over the River and Through the Woods…”

The plank: No gym necessary!

The plank: No gym necessary!

Same with the push-up

Same with the push-up

Side Planks, too! Photos by Lauren Bachner

Side Planks, too! Photos by Lauren Bachner

‘Tis the season for shopping and eating, and for many, it’s also also a time for traveling. If this weekend’s plans take you “over the river and through the woods” to somebody’s house for a few days of holiday cheer, you don’t have to leave your commitment to exercise at home. Packing a few fitness essentials and making a few modifications can keep you on track.

  • Sneakers. Having them along for the trip means there’s no excuse not to go for your usual daily run (weather permitting) or take a long walk with that relative or friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with since the last family get-together. It also means you’ll have an easy way to burn some calories pre- or post-feast time.
  • Workout clothes. There’s always room for an exercise bra, a pair of shorts or yoga pants, a moisture-wicking top and two or three pairs of athletic socks. These items take up practically zero space in any bag and you don’t have to worry about them getting wrinkled!
  • Fitness apps. If you’re traveling by train or car (and you’re not driving, of course), use the trip to download apps that give you exercise plans no matter where you decide workout. One of the most popular ones out there is FitnessPro. Being delayed at the airport is another perfect time for app downloads.
  • Now get moving! You brought your “stuff,” so there’s no excuse not to hit the floor of the guest bedroom or the den when it’s not filled with the TV crowd. Here are just some of the exercises you can do anywhere: bridges, planks, crunches, jumping jacks, squats, lunges and push ups. (If you’re driving and have the room, throw your yoga mat in the car so you can do the core exercises on the floor with greater comfort.)
  • Family Fitness Plan: If your family is willing to give you control of the remote for a bit, maybe you could all meet in the living room to give your Zumba DVD a try. If they happen to have a Wii, XBox 360 or PlayStation system, why not try a Dance Dance Revolution competition to get everyone moving and have a few laughs in he process!

The bottom line is even though you may miss your favorite group exercise class or one day of weight training at the gym, there are ways to stay active when you’re away from home. The bonus is you get to make memories while spending time with family and friends.

This marks my last post of 2012. I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and friends on Long Island. I’m even more excited about starting the New Year with new energy and new strength to take on whatever this roller coaster ride called life throws at me.

I close the year with a big thank all my readers for supporting me through a year of ups and downs. I hope you’ll be back in 2013 so we can start the next part of our journey together on the endless road to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

‘Tis the Season for Fitness!

You Must Chill!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Hopefully you beat that turkey hangover, survived the crazy Black Friday crowds and are ready to tackle a new work week. As the holiday season of 2012 has also officially kicked into high gear, I thought this Motivation Monday offered the perfect opportunity to touch on the importance of keeping your mental health in check during the hustle and bustle of this joyous but chaotic time of year.

Now more than ever, getting those workouts in will help burn some of the extra holiday calories that come in all shapes and sizes ranging from homemade cookies to sweet, seasonal cocktails. Weight maintenance aside, breaking a sweat can also help you shake off some of the extra stress of the “most wonderful time of the year” including battling the crowds in overheated stores and spending extra amounts of time with the extended family. When you add online shopping and maybe some lo-cal recipe surfing to the everyday stimuli of  emails, texts, Tweets and status updates, it’s no wonder our minds are in overdrive.

With so much more than sugar plums dancing through our heads, it’s more important than ever to not only get those workouts in, but also steal some precious moments to disconnect and re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:

  • Focus on one thing at a time: If you set aside one hour to write holiday cards or wrap gifts, then for those 60 minutes, don’t deal with texting or answering emails. If it makes you feel better, you can alert your social network that you’ll be offline for a bit. Then put on whatever music motivates you to be a good elf and  get to work.
  • Step away from the computer: When December starts, I will be making a conscious effort to NOT turn on my home computer unless absolutely necessary when I get home from work and the gym. I will check my iPhone or iPad at least once before bed to make sure I didn’t miss any “emergency” correspondence, but it makes a difference not to have the desktop on with the Facebook tab taunting me to make my way back to the keyboard.
  • Turn off the TV: Try to establish one night where the DVR does the watching for you. Turn that night into decompress time with family or friends. Maybe play cards or a board game to forget about the holiday craziness for awhile. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas gifts in order, but it’ll be time to tackle those holiday chores with fewer distractions.
  • Make me-time a must: If you’re making the commitment to find 20-30 minutes in your crazy schedule for a workout, take another five minutes to stretch. Then try and add five more minutes to a hot shower at night. When you’re out shopping, treat yourself to a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer to turn that shower in to an extra calming experience. Sip some caffeine-free tea afterward, burn a candle with a calming scent and try to shut down that overactive mind before getting under the covers.

As you work through this holiday high-time and make an effort to workout, don’t forget the importance of standing still for awhile, too. Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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