Helpful Exercise Tips for the Holiday Season

Helpful Exercise Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is just around the corner, and so are the numerous feasts, parties, and activities that come with them. However, this also means that staying fit and healthy can be a real challenge. We all know how easy it is to indulge in food and skip exercise routines during this time of the year.

Finding a balance between partaking in the holiday festivities and avoiding the sluggish and uncomfortable feeling of overindulgence can be tough. But don’t worry; with some helpful exercise tips, you can keep your fitness goals on track and stay healthy during the holiday season.

Notebook with the words "goals" written on the top and a pen next to the notebook

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic fitness goals is one of the secrets to staying motivated during the holidays. Don’t aim for perfection, and it’s OK to give yourself a break if needed. For instance, if you are goal-oriented, try setting a specific goal of working out three times per week, and sticking to it will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle during this time. Try reducing the duration of your workouts if a 60-minute session doesn’t seem achievable. Reducing it to a 30-minute workout is still better than skipping it altogether. And as they say on one of my favorite podcasts, Balance 365, we don’t have to have an all-or-nothing mentality. Something is better than nothing.

If you’re not wild about structured goals, aim to achieve certain habits. My favorite things to focus on include moving my body, drinking water, and listening to my hunger cues. I park farther away at the store, so I must walk further. I also have a full cup of water beside my bed, desk, and kitchen. And a habit I have been working on over the past year is pausing when I think I am hungry. During that pause, I ask myself if I am hungry or trying to fill another need with food.

Photo of someone's foot walking, showing the sole of the shoe.

Be Active Throughout the Day

Being active throughout the day can help you burn extra calories and keep your metabolism going. Instead of sitting for long periods, try incorporating some physical activity throughout the day.

Examples include taking a walk after meals, standing while on phone calls, or doing a quick stretching routine when you wake up. Purchase a set of dumbbells to use for a short strength training session, and take the time to find a solid set to avoid making common dumbbell-buying mistakes.

There’s a park in our neighborhood that has a circular walking path around a grassy area. While the boys play at the playground, ride their bikes, or kick around a ball, I walk the path. It’s an easy way for me to keep moving, while letting them play in a safe environment.

Someone writting in a notebook with coffee in a clear cup next to them.

Keep a Food and Exercise Journal

Keeping a food journal and an exercise log is a tried-and-true method for staying on track with your fitness goals. The journal can help you keep track of your progress and help you hold yourself accountable. It’s also a great way to analyze and adjust your eating habits and exercise routine to meet your goals.

If keeping a food journal feels too restrictive, try meal planning. You’re being mindful of the food you put in your body, but you are setting yourself up for success by choosing foods that feel good for your body.

People skating at ice-skating rink

Participate in Holiday Activities

Another way to stay on track with your fitness goals is to participate in holiday activities that involve exercise. The holidays offer many fun and engaging activities to help you burn calories and improve your overall fitness. You can sign up for a holiday run, go ice skating or skiing, or join a family football or soccer game. You can also plan an active vacation, such as a ski trip or a beach adventure.

Our boys love looking at Christmas decorations. So, most evenings, we walk around the neighborhood and check out what decorations our neighbors are putting up. It’s entertaining for the boys and a way to get us a bit more active.

Three people walking with a dog in a meadow

Find a Workout Buddy

Having a workout buddy with similar fitness goals can increase motivation, make workouts more fun, and keep you accountable. It’s always easier to say “no” to a solo workout session, but when you’ve committed to working out with a friend, they can hold you accountable. Working out together can also be an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.

I just reconnected with a friend after we both had a few crazy weeks and realized that we are both available on Tuesdays. Normally, I go to the gym on Tuesdays, but I asked her if she would want to join me on a walk by the beach on Tuesdays. So now, we are going to go for a walk together every Tuesday. I can’t wait!

Making smart choices during the holiday season can save your overall health, and implementing some exercise tips can help you stay on track with your fitness goals. By following these exercise tips for the holiday season, you’ll set yourself up to start the new year on the right foot. Remember, the goal isn’t to deprive yourself of all the fun but to make smart choices, stay active, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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