10 Tips for Staying Active during the Holidays

Melanie Thomassian, registered Dietician

Friday, November 30, 2007

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the tempting treats and party food, and the general disruption to our normal routine, many people feel that weight gain is inevitable for them over the holiday period.

Granted, it can be difficult to squeeze physical activity into our busy schedules with so much going on. Unfortunately, those who take a break from their exercise routine sometimes find it extremely difficult to get back on track again.

We already know the huge benefit exercise has on our bodies, including helping to reduce stress levels, giving more energy, lowering blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels, and helping with weight maintenance. Exercise is also known to help reduced our risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Therefore, whether it’s the holiday season or not, we should be aiming to exercise 30 minutes or more at least 5 days each week. Despite the difficulties of finding time to exercise, ultimately it’s better to put the effort in now – the repercussions will be much greater in the long-run if we don’t.

10 top tips for keeping active during the holidays:

  1. Activity can be broken into three 10-minute sessions, slotted into your daily routine wherever you have time.
  2. Try to stick with your existing workout schedule throughout the holiday season. If you have friends and family staying with you, why not ask them to join in as well for extra moral support? Ultimately, the holidays are a time for sharing – this can include your workout routine!
  3. Don’t forget about your existing gym or fitness class. Write them into your to-do-list as a reminder.
  4. If it’s very cold outside, what about swimming? It may be a relaxing change to the holiday season madness outside.
  5. Keep a record of daily fitness activities. This way it’ll be easier for you to see if you need to do more or even when it’s time to reward yourself.
  6. When you shop for those last minutes gifts, schedule time for lots of walking. Park as far away from shop entrances as you can and briskly walk to your destination. If you travel by bus or metro, get off a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the journey.
  7. If it usually snows where you live why not shovel the snow yourself instead of getting someone else to do it? Or better still build a snowman with the kids or your partner.
  8. Put on your favourite Christmas tunes and get moving around the house; housework is also an excellent way to burn calories.
  9. Why not enjoy the company of your family by going for a brisk walk in the evening to enjoy the holiday lights?
  10. Organize a family game nights; maybe you can play ball games outside, go to the bowling alley or perhaps play another indoor game. Board games are another great option - at least it’s more active than sitting slumped in front of the television all evening!
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