Staying Active Over the Holidays

From now until New Year’s Day, our schedules are hectic and full of unhealthy choices. This can be a fun, yet stressful time of year for families. However, it is important to remember that these holidays typically only consist of one or two days. Don’t let the holidays interrupt your normal healthy routine! The best thing you can do for yourself is to make a game plan. Below are a few ways to plan for the busy holiday season.

1. Keep Moving

“In addition to staying active, try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, such as when watching football games or eating. Remember: Too much sitting is hazardous to your health. Research shows that getting up for just five minutes every 30 to 60 minutes and performing light activity (say, pacing around the house or performing simple squat exercises) reduces the risk of diabetes and other heart disease risk factors.”

– Lance Dalleck, assistant professor of exercise and sport science at Western State Colorado University

In other words, make sure you are not sitting for the majority of your holiday events. Take a quick walk with a relative and catch up on life! Be sure to help the host clean up their house after dinner or offer to stand during any gift opening or TV watching.


2. Break Out the Dance Moves at the Bar

According to NBC News, Thanksgiving Eve is the busiest bar night of the year. If you plan on meeting up with old friends/family out at the bar before Thanksgiving, be sure to think about these tips:

  • Dance like no one’s watching. MyFitnessPal states that the average 150lb individual burns approximately 306 calories per hour while dancing. If that doesn’t get you up on the dance floor, I’m not sure what will!
  • Drink water. According to WebMD, drinking one glass of water per alcoholic drink will decrease the hangover effect and help you consume less calories. You will be grateful you listened to this when Thanksgiving morning rolls around the corner.


3. Get Rid of the All or Nothing Mindset

“The holidays are hectic, but do your best to avoid the ‘all or nothing’ mentality when it comes to healthful eating and physical activity. In reality, there is more than just one way to live healthfully and be active.”

“During the holidays, get a bit creative with exercise and opt for fun ways that make physical activity a family affair. From exploring new group fitness classes to building physical activity into holiday traditions – like taking a family walk around the neighborhood before opening Christmas presents – think outside the box when it comes to ways to have quality time with family and friends while also prioritizing your health.”

– Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College and American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, health coach and group fitness instructor

You do not have to get a full body workout in every single day of the week during this busy time. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that physical activity can be broken down into smaller increments throughout the day. This means if you can get up and move a few times during the day, for approximately 10 minutes at a time, you can still enjoy the regular benefits of physical activity. Recruit and friend or family member during your festivities!


4. Remember, It’s a Single Day

Many people overindulge and skip their regular exercise routine during the holiday season. Relatives may be coming into town with many family activities planned, however, you must try and remember that a holiday is typically one or two days in length. Don’t let these bad habits continue into the New Year. Reset and return to your normal routine after the craziness is over. Also, try not to be too hard on yourself. Treat yourself for a day and plan ahead for the next one.


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