Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years — there’s a lot to celebrate from November to the new year. With it comes a ton of dashing around doing holiday shopping, dealing with a bit of stress with the family, housing family or heading on the road yourself to celebrate, and a bit of guilty eating and putting off your exercise routine.
If any of this sounds familiar and you want to try and stay fit during the holiday season and beyond while doing the things you still want to do, then consider some of our tips in the guide below. While this is the most wonderful time of the year (even if your jeans may disagree), you can incorporate some extra calorie burn into your routine while enjoying the holidays.
Get in Some Extra Exercise in Unlikely Places
From holiday shopping, making last moment runs to the grocery store or bakery, or picking up family from the airport — try making the best of it. While walking through aisles won’t help much, you can boost your heart rate and burn more calories if you pick up your pace a bit. Errands will get done quicker and you can get some exercise out of it.
You can also make a competition of it. Challenge your family members or friends using any smart device that you own that has a pedometer (smartphone, fitness tracker, smartwatch). You can compare at the end of your outing or the end of the day to see who got more done.
Do Holiday Chores with Fitness in Mind
There are a lot of things that must be done during the holidays. Off the top of my head, most people typically engage in some of the following activities:
- Shoveling Driveways, Sidewalks, etc…
- Chopping Firewood
- Cleaning up after a party or dinner
- Putting up Christmas trees
- Putting up Christmas lights indoors and outdoors
- Setting up for events
- Playing outside with the kids in the snow
- More of shoveling snow off of sidewalk, driveways, and your car
- Holiday shopping for groceries and gifts
- Picking up family or friends from the airport
The great thing about all of these holiday to-do’s is that nearly any of them can be used to give you a calorie-burning burst of energy.
Take initiative and do your elderly neighbor, parents, or significant other a favor and help to shovel snow off of driveways, sidewalks, front porches, and cars. If you’ve ever done this, you know how much energy this takes. You can end up burning hundreds of calories and toning muscles you would not expect — especially your arms. You can also go the extra mile and salt everything once you’ve shoveled. You will be both a hero of the holidays, an overall great person, and will feel great afterwards. You deserve that cookie and cup of hot chocolate.
Chopping firewood is also a tough job and can really tone your arms. Help out and do some chopping yourself! Also, after any Christmas get-together such as a dinner or party, there is always the cleanup. Offer to help out whether you are the host or not. Helping to clean up cups and plates, helping with the dishes, cleaning things up from the floors, and putting away extra chairs and/or tables can help you burn those extra calories and again — you will be the best guest of the holiday season.
When it comes to putting up holiday decorations, it can be tough for many people to handle. Getting heavy trees out of storage or from the tree farm, taking all of the decorations out, trimming the tree — all of these chores can burn calories, help to stretch your body, and keep you active when you’d probably rather be eating pumpkin pie.
Entertaining nieces, nephews, siblings, and other kids? Go ahead and join them as you all play outside. Build snowmen, play tag, and have a snowball fight!
Find Time for Yourself
As busy as the holiday season is from November to January 2nd, it is important to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. Take this time, even if it is 15 minutes, and make it purely for yourself.
- Practicing your favorite yoga poses
- Becoming mindful of those around you and what you are grateful for
- Reducing stress through yoga
- Getting a cup of coffee
Whatever you need to do in order to take a few minutes for yourself, do what makes you happy, calm, and mindful. If you have a home yoga studio or a place where you can continue to practice your yoga and meditation, do so. If you practice yoga at a local studio, make a date and stick with it. You deserve some you time to take a breather.
Even if the holiday season is pleasant for you, it is still stressful for most people because of the amount of work that goes into trying to make everything perfect for family. Keeping your stress under control can keep your healthy habits intact too.
Continuing some semblance of a schedule will make you less likely to fall off track and eating healthy, remaining hydrated with water rather than wine, eating sweet treats that are hard to beat, and binge watching movies when it gets cold outside.