Go ahead. Whip out your list of excuses for skipping your workouts during the holidays. We’ve heard just about every single one, including some creative whoppers. Bad weather, road trips, self-confidence issues, and the classic I’ll-start-over-after-the-holidays excuse.
While it may be true that your work like and family life are a little crazier during the holidays, it’s not a good reason to skip out on exercise. In fact, your best bet to avoid gaining weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is to lean into the holidays with a plan to eat healthy and stay active.
Here are some ways to keep exercise on your to-do list during the holidays.
1. Try 10-Minute Workouts
In the perfect world, a solid 30 to 60 minutes of exercise is ideal. But if you’re pressed for time and don’t think you’ll have enough minutes in the day to go for a run, hit the gym, or make it to your training session, find another way. New research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise found that three 10-minute exercise sessions can be just as beneficial to your health as once 30-minute hustle. Can you find time to exercise in 10-minute increments?
2. Blast Calories with Bodyweight Exercises
When you’re on the road, staying in a hotel, or sequestered to the guest room at a relative’s, it’s all too easy to let your exercise habits slide. But you don’t have to.
If you’re staying in a hotel with a fitness center, carve out some time to cycle, use the treadmill, or complete your own circuit training routine on the weight machines.
No gym at the hotel? No excuse. You can get work up a sweat and burn a ton of calories with body weight exercises. Check out this no-equipment-needed workout by the American Council on Exercise.
3. Look for Opportunities to Walk
There’s a pretty good chance you plan to do some shopping, eat out at a restaurant, or go to a movie during the holidays. In terms of exercise, these activities generally involve a lot of sitting. Sitting in traffic, driving around trying to find a parking space, sitting at a table or in a movie theater seat, all add up to a lot of sedentary activity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even a trip to the store or the mall can become an opportunity to exercise. For example:
* When you get to the store, park far away and get some extra steps in walking across the parking lot.
* Walk the perimeter of the mall, big box store, or supermarket first, and then take care of your shopping.
* Instead of leisurely strolling when you go out, pick up the pace and walk a little faster from time to time as you make your way through the crowd. New research shows that adjusting your speed while you walk can burn up to 20 percent more calories.
* If you’re stuck in an airport for hours waiting for a layover or delayed flight, walk around instead of taking up residence on a bench with all your baggage.
* And if the weather really is too nasty or cold to go out, dust off that treadmill being used as a clothes hanger and put it to better use.
4. Make Fitness Part of Your Holiday Plans
If you need a little motivation to help you stay active during the holidays, sign up for a race, fun run, or fitness-related event between now and New Year’s.
In Cleveland, you’ll find a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot that starts at Public Hall, the Jingle Bell Run at Legacy Village on Dec. 13, and the Cleveland Arctic Plunge in Lake Erie on Jan. 1. If you won’t be in the Cleveland area during the holidays, check out Running in the USA or Running Meetups to find a race, fun run, or training group on your trip.
Stay active. It’s an important part of maintaining your weight during the holidays. If you find yourself making excuses for skipping out on exercise, give one of these suggestions a try. Or contact us, and we’ll show you how you can work out at home.