No Excuses! Keep Yourself Healthy And Fit During The Holidays And Forever After

Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes. - Goethe
Excuses, excuses, and more excuses! (Not on my watch!)

Making a commitment to stay focused on your health and fitness during the holiday season is the best way to avoid the extra five to ten pounds that many of us find ourselves crying about come New Years. I get it! Holiday parties, cooking, shopping, dinners with friends and family, kids home for two weeks, house guests, cold weather and more can make your exercise schedule seem impossible to maintain.  Even if you’re too busy for your usual workout, you can still get the 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity that your body needs to help stave off weight gain, keep your mood on the upside, and fight off many diseases. By adding some heart-pumping twists and tweaks to the tasks already on your holiday to-do list, you’ll be in good shape!

Not only will your body burn those extra holiday calories before they turn into extra belly fat; you’ll also feel full more quickly and eat less. Plus, exercising helps curb stress and improves your mood so you can actually enjoy the holidays.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to get your 30 minutes of exercise all at once. “You can break your daily workout into three 10-minute or two 15-minute chunks as your schedule allows,” says Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson.

Can’t get your full 30 minutes of exercise for the day? Even 15 minutes of daily exercise can increase your life expectancy by up to three years, says recent research.

Here’s how to turn your exercise excuses into heart-boosting, fat burning opportunities this holiday season.

Shopping? Yes, shopping can be good for health!

Wear a pedometer and track your daily steps. Stop looking for a parking space near the door, and park far from the entrance. Or, if you’re taking the bus or train, get off a stop or two early. Either way, you’ll pack in some extra walking. And, please don’t think of borrowing someone  else’s handicap sticker – that is simply pathetic! You would never do that – right?

“For walking to count as exercise, you should be a little out of breath and feel your heart beating a little faster,” Basen-Engquist says. While shopping, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If possible, carry your purchases instead of using a shopping cart. You’ll get your heart pumping and sneak in some strength training.

Hostess With The Mostest ?

Preparing your home for friends and family is a great way to slip in aerobic activity, but not just any tidying will do the trick. “The most important thing is to get your heart rate up at a consistent level,” Basen-Engquist says. So, focus on repetitive activities that use large muscle groups, like your  core, legs and back. This includes vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, sweeping, gardening and even taking multiple trips upstairs to put away laundry or holiday decorations and gifts.


Get your heart pumping on the road with these tips:

Flying or taking the train or bus? While waiting to depart, take a brisk walk around the terminal – and skip the moving sidewalks. When you reach your destination, make your walk to baggage claim or the exit a quick one.

Driving? Add physical activity to gas and bathroom breaks. Kick around a soccer ball, throw a Frisbee or take a brisk walk. Or, my favorite travel buddy – a jump rope!

Staying at a hotel or with friends or relatives? Many hotels offer gyms and even exercise classes. Don’t forget about the the stair well in the hotel. Grab a buddy or two and walk or run the stairs for twenty minutes – now that’s a workout! If that’s not an option, bring along an exercise DVD or try one of our no equipment needed exercise videos. Or, explore the local area by taking a jog, hike or brisk walk. Ask the hotel concierge for suggestions, they are usually very helpful.

Surrounded by relatives? Good, bad or indifferent – holiday time means lots of family time!

Help your entire family exercise by teaming up to:

Train for a holiday race. Many cities hold a turkey trot on Thanksgiving.

Go hiking.

Go horseback riding.

Ice skate.

None of these work for you? Still can’t work exercise into your holiday activities? Try these tips:

Use your lunch hour to jog or take a brisk walk. Check out our office fitness plan!

Take the stairs at work. Don’t ever look at the stairs and think, “not happening.” Make yourself walk those steps!

Schedule workouts ahead of time.

Enlist a friend or family member to walk with you during the holidays. Buddying up motivates both of you and gives you a chance to catch up and stay connected. Staying socially connected during the holidays is a great stress reliever and blues buster.

Be prepared! I would strongly recommend setting aside daily “me time”  and create a fitness plan for yourself before the big holiday rush and panic sets in!  Do your very best to stay on a healthy path for the next 8-10 weeks. Mindfulness is key!

Remember, some things can wait until after the holidays, but your health isn’t one of them.

Head into the holiday season (or out of it), with grace and love in your heart!

Always love & healthy choices,


Read More To Stay Healthy And Fit This Holiday Season and Beyond:

Check Out Our Workout Videos While Traveling

Use It And Lose It!

Fast And Fabulous Fitness Moves

Take The Stairs And Burn Fat 

Wear A Pedometer Everyday

A Call To Your Core

Some information courtesy of: MD Anderson Cancer Center

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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