With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, exercise is usually the furthest thing from our minds. But between impressing the in-laws with a juicy turkey and the stress of finding the perfect gifts, weaving in some time for a workout can actually alleviate some of the built-up anxiety. More importantly, it can help you stay fit through the holidays, which are known for rich and indulgent meals.
But with a packed schedule of endless parties, traveling and other festive activities, how do you find the time for a workout? And how do you ignore all the tempting, delicious goodies as you attempt to stay healthy? Here are 10 ways to stay fit during the holidays, from staying hydrated to sneaking in small intervals of exercise and more. Go ahead, slip into some workout leggings and let’s get started!
1. Get Creative and Sneak in Fun Exercises
When you plan to stay fit during the holidays, don’t become frustrated when you miss your scheduled workout and don’t feel guilty for staying longer at a holiday party. Go easy on yourself during these hectic times and, instead, get creative and sneak exercises into your daily routine! For example, go for a family walk around the neighborhood to admire other homes’ holiday light displays. Wear versatile and cute women’s activewear to easily transition and maximize your time, heading to an exercise class after work.
2. Make a Nutrition and Health Plan
Another way to stay fit during the holidays is to be more mindful of the foods you eat. Start the week and each day with a plan for healthy meals and routine exercises. Download an app to track your calorie intake and activity levels. During the season of indulging, chances are you will take in more calories than usual. However, it helps to know so you can make more conscious choices.
3. Make Sure to Stay Hydrated (Even When It’s Cold Out)
It’s much easier to remember to drink fluids on a hot day. But during the holiday season, when the temperatures start to drop, reaching for a cold water bottle is not appealing. However, just because you’re not as thirsty and you’re sweating less doesn’t mean you’re not any less dehydrated. Plus, your brain often confuses thirst with hunger. Since water is an appetite suppressant, drinking a big glass of water before a heavy meal may trick your brain into thinking you’re fuller sooner.
4. Exercise Before You Start the Day
Another way you can stay fit during the holidays is to make time for exercise in the morning before you start your day. As we all know, once you start your day, it’s hard to convince yourself to step aside and make time for a workout. With the holidays here, carving out time for exercise becomes even more challenging, especially with all the gift-buying, cookie-making and party-attending on your agenda. If you feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks, write a to-do list for the next day as you hit the sack–but keep exercise at the top!
5. Get Good Shuteye
Speaking of hitting the sack, make sure to get adequate sleep. As you stay fit during the holidays, remember to allow your body time to recover and repair. Deep sleep also produces growth hormones and is good for your mental health overall, allowing you to start the next day feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
6. Carry Less-Tempting, Healthier Snacks
The holiday season is chock-full of heavy meals and sugary desserts. From workplace holiday parties to your counter, enticing treats are everywhere. Instead of being tempted, keep an emergency stash of healthy food in your purse or bag and place a bowl of fruits on the counter. Reach for more nutritious foods first and you won’t crave the unhealthy treats.
7. Block Out Time for Quicker Workouts
At the beginning of each week, block out some time for exercise. It doesn’t have to be a full hour-long workout–just a 15-minute time slot will do! Keep to your schedule and make no excuses. Even if it’s 10 minutes of HIIT, kettlebell swings, bodyweight exercises or yoga practices, it’s better than no exercise at all. Just aim to get your heart rate up and break a sweat.
8. Stay Active (Even Just a Little)
Remember to stay active! Research shows that sitting for prolonged periods and living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to many health-related risks, such as diabetes, heart disease and more. While it’s good family fun to sit in front of the TV for a holiday-movie marathon, try to get up every 30-60 minutes to stretch or walk to the kitchen for a glass of water. Even this little activity can get the blood moving again.
9. Be Mindful of How Much You Indulge
We tend to overindulge during the holiday season. From multiple glasses of wine to rich meals and decadent desserts, the temptation is real. However, try to be mindful of these holiday indulgences. Avoid leaving easy-to-grab treats out on the counter. And after a party or celebration, try to get them out of the house. Divide and conquer, asking guests to take leftovers home. If you must, get desserts out of sight by throwing them in the trash.
10. Remember It’s Okay to Have Cheat Days
Taking all this advice and extra tips into consideration, at the end of the day, don’t make yourself miserable. Enjoy the holidays. They only come once a year and a couple of days will not break your fitness plan. Overall, just limit the treats and keep track of an exercise routine, even if it’s short 15-minute stints throughout the day. It’s challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season, but you can always reward yourself with a cheat day once the time comes.