It’s the time of year when we dash to the store for Christmas gifts, we jingle from one errand to the next and, if we’re lucky, we merrily make time to workout. During the months of November and December, holiday fitness can easily take a seat in the “back sleigh” of priorities. So when January 1st rolls around, we find ourselves feeling less than jolly as we struggle to get “back on track” while cleaning up the house, entertaining the kids and overcoming the financial toll of the holidays.
The best way to overcome all of this? Before you consider starting that fad diet, avoid it in the first place. It doesn’t take a fancy new treadmill or an expensive membership to the local country club to stay in shape. The following fitness tips are attainable and sustainable. Give them a go and you’ll soon realize you feel better not only during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.
Make Fitness a Priority
“I don’t have time to workout.” It’s a common phrase that we’ve all muttered at one point or another. However, it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s that you might not be making time. If someone asks you to bake cookies for tomorrow’s choir performance, you make time. If you’re invited to attend an employee potluck, you make time to go. The benefits of a workout extend beyond a 30-minute circuit. You’ll improve your energy, mood and will experience lifelong benefits over time.
“Ok, all I have to do is workout. Got it.” Easier said than done, right? The next step is to determine when you will workout, where you will workout and what you will do. The best time to workout is when you will workout. This might mean setting the alarm and waking up an hour earlier. If your children are early birds, involve them in the workout (walk outside, challenge them to push-ups and squats!) or designate that time as “reading hour.” Keep in mind that 10-minute activity breaks throughout the day are better than nothing at all. An example of a holiday fitness routine is below. Perform 2 rounds and rest as needed.
- Jumping jacks – 30 seconds
- Squats – 30 seconds
- High knee run – 30 seconds
- Alternating reverse lunges – 30 seconds
- Mountain climbers – 30 seconds
- Wall sit – 30 seconds
- Jump rope in place – 30 seconds
- Full arm plank – 30 seconds
- Heel kicks – 30 seconds
- Push-ups – 30 seconds
As we approach the new year, we ponder new goals and new habits that will support the lifestyle we want to achieve. Let your creativity flow and find ways of staying active that you enjoy. Bored with the workout you pulled out of last year’s magazine? Try a Do Anywhere Workout. Is your body aching from all of those HIIT routines? Give yoga a try. The body craves variety and your mind will thank you too! By mixing it up, you will avoid plateaus and your workouts will be more enjoyable as well. Consider investing in some home gym equipment such as dumbbells, stability balls, medicine balls, resistance bands and a yoga mat.
The only thing secretive about holiday fitness should be how Rudolph guides the sleigh around the globe in less than 24 hours, fueled by cookies, milk and carrots. While you don’t need to announce your new fitness program to the world, or share a bikini pic on Instagram, consider sharing your goals with family and friends. This might be a simple check-in on Facebook when you go to the cycle studio. Consider inviting a friend to walk with you at 7am so you’re more likely to show up. Fitness isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term lifestyle that should enhance the quality of your relationships, rather than interfere with them. Let people know the why behind your habits and they will be more likely to support them.
Spending, snacking, staying up late….we tend to overindulge in the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos. Maintain, don’t gain. This isn’t the time to reduce calories, go wild with workouts or try to lose 10 pounds. Use these moments to celebrate what the holidays mean to you. Family and friends are more important than presents and chocolate martinis. Your health will last a lot longer than the Christmas tunes playing on the radio. This is the time of year to refocus, reset, reduce (the stress) and celebrate!