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6 Clever Ways to Stay in Shape During the Holidays

Many people find it hard to exercise year-round, let alone during the holiday season. You’re busy with family, attending social events, buying gifts and celebrating with extra cookies and cocktails. As a result, our fitness routines become less of a priority and we tend to pack on a few pounds. But staying active around this time is important to give you energy, reduce stress and make the most of the celebrations. To stay active, you need to not put the brakes on your workout routine during what is usually the busiest time of the year. So, how do you strike the right balance? These clever ways, suggested by our personal fitness trainers, will help you stick to your fitness routine during the holidays.

How to Squeeze Your Workout Routine in During the Holidays

The holiday season can make keeping a consistent workout routine difficult. Here’s how you can squeeze in physical activity during the holidays.

1) Plan Ahead

We understand that coming up with a plan to hit the gym between food-oriented gatherings, chilly temperatures, shorter daylight hours, family visits and frantic shopping schedules is difficult. But it’s important. Take time to figure out what your options are and make a schedule so you’re ready to take advantage of every situation. For example,

  • If you’re travelling to a new city, search for walking, running or park trails nearby.
  • If you’re staying with family, ask if they have any fitness equipment you can use. Alternatively, look for a nearby gym and ask if guests can use the facility. You can also hire an in-home personal trainer to help you with your workout.
  • If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, ask if they have a gym or exercise room and then make a booking if required.
  • Plan physical activities with your family, like long walks or ski days, so you don’t compromise either your family or fitness time.

in-home personal training session

2) Wake Up Early

Beginning your day 10-20 minutes earlier can help you prioritize exercise. As Christmas and New Year’s approach, your day will get busier, making it more likely you will skip the gym. So, waking up early is a good way to get in a short morning workout and help you stay active during the holidays.

3) Make the Most of Every Opportunity

Sometimes even the best-laid plans don’t work, especially when everyone is busy celebrating. That’s when you have to look for opportunities to stick to your wellness routine. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Shopping mall parking lots are notoriously crowded during the holiday season, but you can turn this problem into an opportunity to move your body. Burn some calories by parking far away from the mall entrance.
  • Instead of heading directly to the store where you plan to shop, take extra laps at the mall. Apart from burning extra calories, you’ll also get the chance to window shop.
  • Walk as much as possible by using stairs instead of the elevator and volunteering to walk the dog.
  • If you’re around small children, try to feed off their holiday excitement by playing with them. Chase toddlers around the house, play hide & seek or take older kids on a stroll around the neighbourhood to check out Christmas decorations.

Walking extra steps

4) Schedule Your Workouts

If getting up early to squeeze in fitness between holiday parties isn’t working, try scheduling wellness sessions and blocking off your calendar. Prepare a planner where you mark meetings, holiday parties or family gatherings so that you visually see when you’re unavailable. That way, you can find days on which to work out. Also, make sure you eat healthy foods on workout days, considering the amount of rich and sugary foods that are so common around this time of year. And don’t skip this routine. If last-minute plans arise, try to manage your busy schedule so your workout is part of it.

5) Combine Fitness and Fun

Many people skip working out during the holidays because they want to be with their families, but you know you can do both. Winter sports like ice skating are the perfect way to embrace winter, bond with your loved ones and burn some calories. Skating is a good exercise that uses a lot of small stabilizer muscles (near hips, knees and ankles) that don’t get much of a workout in daily life. In fact, according to Best Health Magazine, an individual weighing 155 lbs can burn about 387 calories per hour skating slowly, whereas fast, full-out skating can burn 633 calories per hour. This form of exercise is for all ages, including older adults as ice-skating is easy on joints. Just watch out for falls! As far as the kids are concerned, if they don’t love skating, try tobogganing. So, take your family out to both avoid (your) holiday weight gain and set holiday spirits high.

Fitness and fun together

6) Set Short-Term, Realistic Goals

It would be a Christmas miracle if we all met our holiday fitness goals. That’s why it’s important to be realistic and set short-term exercise goals. Many personal trainers use this idea to keep beginners motivated. For example, if you’re unable to keep up with your workout routine of one hour, commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise per day. This short workout session may not seem like much, but it will help you start a routine. You can also commit to walking one mile for every $20 you spend on holiday shopping. This is a good way to meet your short-term fitness goals.

Although the holiday season is the most awaited time of the year to celebrate and have fun with friends and family, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. Make sure you strike a balance between your holiday spirits and your fitness with the help of these suggestions. All you need to do is prioritize daily workouts and give your body the Christmas gift it deserves.