Last month I wished all my clients a Happy Thanksgiving giving them permission to have fun and eat a lot but be sure to join me back at the gym the following week.
One day of indulgence won’t break your fitness fabulousness. But if you open the floodgates to a rampage of holiday goodies it can set you back unless you keep moving. Besides burning calories, exercise acts as a type of shield to overeating by keeping inflammation at bay and regulating your insulin levels. If you want to stay fit and not gain an excess amount of weight during the holidays it’s simple, keep moving, be thoughtful and remember moderation.
Here are my tips for getting through the holidays feeling fit and fabulous.
Make Time for Exercise: Yes, there are many parties, social activities and school recitals. It might mess up your regular exercise routine. It’s okay. If you have to miss a workout, do what you can. Get up early that day to do some calisthenics in your living room, take a jog outside, or a follow a fitness video on the t-v. Perhaps take a walk on your lunch break. Treat your time for fitness like any other appointment with a doctor, a client or teacher. Reschedule. Remember the reward of feeling good afterwards. Also remember it’s a way of giving yourself permission to have some of those wonderful holiday goodies being passed around. If you don’t have a regular fitness routine, don’t wait until January to start. Write a time on the calendar and walk out your front door or office to get moving on most days.
Make Exercise Part of the Festivities: One of our family’s favorite things to do during the holidays is ice-skating. If you don’t know how, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and you burn even more calories trying to learn. If you’re in a warmer climate you have even more opportunities to find activities outside. Meeting friends before dinner at a nearby rink, bowling alley or a park to build a snowman helps make winter fun and allows you to earn your calories. Dancing is also a great active and social affair. Don’t know how? Find a club offering line dancing, salsa or tango lessons before the band or DJ starts.
Exercise & Shopping: If you’re planning on going to the mall to shop get a jump on the crowds. Many malls open their doors before the individual stores do. You can go early and walk a few laps around the halls and be ready and warmed up when the stores open for shopping. Also, many fitness stores like Athleta and Lucy offer various exercise classes for FREE before or after the store hours. Attend a class and enjoy private shopping and maybe snacks and give-a-ways before the general public is invited in. Stores will often have a calendar of classes offered on their website or in the store itself.
Sign-up For a Fun 5k: Most cities or town have crazy themed holiday races like the Ugly Sweater Run, Hot Coco Race or Commitment Day on New Year’s morning. You can dress up and enjoy some festivities afterwards. Signing up for the race will motivate you to train. It’s also another social activity to do with friends and family. But remember it’s all for fun. You can push yourself to run hard or walk the course while chatting with a companion. Can’t find a race in your area? Then organize one by tracking a fitness course and planning a potluck for the end. Make it a new healthy holiday tradition!
Everything in Moderation: Remember restraint for whatever you eat, drink or do for exercise. Decide what should be your limit for sugar and alcohol. Knowledge is powerful. Find articles about the effects it has on your body so you will be predisposed to avoid overindulgence. Keep food portions small remembering you can go back for seconds and chances are you won’t feel you need to once you take a pause from eating. Coordinate your fitness workout with parties and dinners. If you lift weights before a big holiday meal your muscles will need the protein. If you take a jog your body will crave the carbohydrates for energy. Stay hydrated with lots of water.
Don’t fret over exercise and food. Keep it light and find ways to keep moving like parking far away and taking stairs to make up for any extra intake. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Remember ‘tis the season to be merrily moving!