Stay-Fit Shortcuts for the Holidays
Has the holiday season put your fitness plan on ho-ho-hold? It’s easy to let your exercise routine slide when your gift list seems longer than Santa’s and it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner. The last 10 days before Christmas are the most hectic, so here’s one simple step you can take each of those days (or sooner) to stay active and ward off holiday weight gain.
10. Step up your daily activity.
Office workers in a recent study took the stairs more often when they were reminded to do so. Create your own prompts like an email or sign near the elevator (move over cheesy holiday decorations) to squeeze in activity when you don’t have time for a formal sweatfest.
9. Bypass the January rush.
December is a slower month for gym enrollment, so now’s the time to negotiate membership deals and perks. You’ll also get a head start on your new year’s resolution - without the crowds.
8. Double up.
Combine upper and lower-body movements (like squats with biceps curls) during your workouts to buy more time for tackling your holiday to-do list.
7. Roll out your yoga mat.
Feeling body image woes from less exercise and lots of yuletide treats? Focusing inward with yoga may bolster body image more than other exercise like step class, says a new University of California, Berkeley study.
6. Celebrate the holidays on ice.
You melt just as many calories – seven per minute - ice skating with your nieces and nephews as you do walking four miles per hour on a treadmill. Who says real exercise only happens at the gym?
5. Click on your pedometer.
Skip the online shopping (not to mention those exorbitant rush delivery fees) and wrap up your gift-buying errands on foot instead.
4. Put your feet up.
Go ahead, treat yourself to a well-deserved rest. But don’t stay idle for too long: Research shows that it takes only 10 days of slughood before you start to become less fit—and even less time before you start to feel tense and Grinch-y.
3. Dash through the snow.
The interval exercise you get from climbing uphill then dashing down in a sled is a fun way to burn about 400 calories in an hour (if you don’t stop for too long to make snow angels).
2. Stay home for the holidays.
Spring for an at-home personal training session as a gift to yourself. Use the time you’d spend battling gridlock traffic to and from the gym (blame it on those last-minute shoppers) for more peaceful pastimes, such as decorating the tree with loved ones.
1. Sing carols.
Walk and wassail through your neighborhood with family and friends this Christmas Eve to work off some shortbread as you also spread good cheer.
Image and article supplied by Amanda Vogel MA
Amanda Vogel, MA, holds a Master’s degree in Human Kinetics and is a certified group exercise instructor with the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) and Can-Fit-Pro. In addition to teaching fitness classes at FitCity for Women’s Vancouver location, Amanda writes health, fitness and lifestyle articles for Chatelaine, Best Health, Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Today’s Parent, Self, All You, Health and Prevention.
You can reach Amanda at Active Voice or Fitness Writer.
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