Maintain workout routines during the holidays

Maintain workout routines during the holidays

Between decking the halls, visiting family and attending holiday parties, it may seem like there is little time to maintain a workout routine during the holiday season. Those who plan and stay dedicated to their routines can avoid the fitness slide until January.

Studies show that people can gain anywhere from one pound to a few pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although that might not seem like a lot of weight, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine noted that many people never lose the weight they put on during the holidays.

Here’s how to stay on course.

• Establish a regular exercise date. Treat exercise as any other obligation on the calendar. Make it a necessity and not a luxury. Schedule time for workouts, even if it means removing something else from your agenda. 

• Don’t worry about the length of your workouts. If you’re accustomed to an hour-long workout but cannot fit in more than 20 minutes some days, don’t skip the workout simply because it’s shorter. Make the most of that time by targeting larger, core muscles.

• Change your schedule. You may need to alter your daily schedule to fit in gym workouts or other exercise. Try getting up earlier and heading out prior to work or school. This will open up time throughout the rest of your day, and you can use that time to meet the demands of the holiday season.

• Get a trainer or a workout buddy. It’s far easier to blow off a workout when you go it alone. However, if you have a workout partner who is counting on you and vice versa, you may be less inclined to miss a workout — even when you’re not especially motivated to hit the gym.

• Try new activities. Workouts need not be limited to exercises in the gym. Plenty of activities work the body and burn calories. Sledding, ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding are just a few winter sports that can help you stay in shape.

• Choose a hotel with a pool or gym. If holiday travel is on your itinerary, select a hotel that has fitness equipment. This way you can keep up with your routine. Even swimming a few laps in an indoor pool can provide a cardiovascular workout while you’re on vacation. Remember, it only takes a two-week break from exercise to experience a fitness regression, and you will only have to work harder to get back to your current fitness level if you let exercise slide too long.

• Add short, high-intensity exercises. Burn more calories in less time with high-intensity workouts. This way you won’t need to schedule as much time for workouts but will still get the benefit of exercise.

• Transform chores into exercise opportunities. See that vacuum cleaner, rake or broom as a piece of exercise equipment. While cleaning up for holiday company, turn on the radio and get your heart pumping, too. Do leg raises while you’re preparing meals or do some pushups off of the kitchen counter.

• Use your bodyweight. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, rely on your own body resistance for a thorough workout. Pushups, squats, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping rope, and lunges are some exercises that rely on bodyweight for effectiveness.

• Periodically exercise during the day. If you have a few free moments here and there during the day, use these opportunities to exercise. By the end of the day, you may find you squeezed in an entire workout’s worth of exercise over the course of several 10-minute intervals.

Exercise and fitness do not have to play second fiddle to other holiday activities. Make time for workouts, and you will be ahead of the game come the New Year.

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