Make exercise a priority during the holidays
Getting regular exercise is important ALL the time, but even more so during the holidays because of the extra food you will likely be consuming. If you and your family haven’t been very active during previous holidays, set a NEW goal for your family this holiday season. Some ideas include going for a walk with your family (around the neighborhood or on a hiking trail), having a kickball tournament with friends/neighbors, or going on a family bike ride. Exercising together will help everyone work off that holiday meal AND gives your family time together away from the TV, chores, and other distractions at home.
In many cities, there may even be walks/runs that you can sign up for that benefit those in need. In Austin, we have the Turkey Trot, which is a 5 mile walk/run on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a great workout and proceeds go towards feeding those in need in the Austin area. But you obviously don’t need an organized fitness event to get out there and get some exercise. Start Thanksgiving or Christmas day with a family hike or bike ride. And after your big meal, take another stroll around the neighborhood to burn off a few calories and help your food digest better.
It’s also important to focus on keeping your activity level high each day. Buy a pedometer and make sure you get in 10,000 steps a day. What if you’re visiting your family in Minnesota where it is FREEZING? Find a nearby gym where they most likely have a daily rate for visitors, or invest in some really warm clothes so you’ll be comfortable taking walks. You can also bring along some exercise DVDs and/or your Wii. I’ve heard great things about Wii Fit, and my family really enjoys the “Just Dance” game, which is really fun AND a good workout for the whole family.
Also, enroll another family member or your spouse to help keep you moving. If you are both committed to getting exercise each day, it will be much easier to follow though. By exercising each day, you will not only burn calories and prevent weight gain, you will also feel better, have more energy, and sleep better at night. BONUS: If your family is driving you nuts, getting out of the house and exercising will give you the break you need!