Strategies to Stay Active During The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! Where has the time gone?! This is often one of the most challenging times to stick to our goals and stay active. It’s easy to get caught up in traveling, holiday dinners and parties, family gatherings, shopping for gifts and preparing meals to push our health aside. The problem here is that first it starts with Halloween candy, then its Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s…but wait there’s more, then we have the Super Bowl and Valentine’s day treats! That’s 5 months of holidays so if we let ourselves fall off the wagon for that long, next thing you know our health really takes a turn. So what can we do to help combat this downfall?

One component to our health as we all know is fitness! This means trying to move as often as we can! Let’s talk strategy to help tackle the crazy holiday season. One big problem can be hours of travel in the car, plane or even trains! If you’re traveling by car it’s a good rule of thumb to stop every two hours. This allows you to stretch and get the blood flowing again. It’s a good idea to stop and take a 5-10 minute walk, maybe even do a few bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges! If you’re traveling by plane and you’re stuck in the airport for a while, rather than sit at your gate, walk laps around the terminal! You could easily get 30 minutes of walking in while waiting. Bonus for carrying a back pack or bag around with you for added intensity! Remember that you don’t always need a full chunk of time to get some exercise in! If you do 10 minutes of exercise randomly throughout your day, next thing you know you’ve ended up with a full 30 minutes! Everything we do counts, so don’t brush it aside because you feel like 5-10 minutes won’t do anything, it will! 

Often times our gatherings center around food, drinks and sitting a lot! To combat this try to get the whole gang involved in some other type of activity to decrease how much you sit. Maybe you gather everyone after dinner for an evening walk or start up a friendly football toss or Corn Hole game in the backyard. Maybe you have kids in the family that have video games like the Wii that can get the family moving and jumping around! When I’m hanging out with my little cousins we often break out Guitar Hero and jam out together. If you have little one’s running around you can always chase them around, play hide and seek or their favorite game. Little ones keep everyone moving!

Stress is often a component that accompanies the holidays. If you find this to be true for you, be sure to make time for yourself! If you have to schedule it in your calendar to get it in your day, then do it! Try an app like headspace or calm during your travel time to help decompress. You can also use apps/YouTube to bring exercise wherever you go! I like using the Nike Training Club app which is free and has workouts that require no equipment so I can do them anywhere! I also use YouTube for yoga practice for my active recovery and stress management. There’s a ton of resources out there, explore the various options to see if any work for you! Another option for exercise on the go is to bring resistance bands with you. These pack easily into a suitcase and can be used in the same way that dumbbells or weight machines do. 

Another strategy to sticking to your goals during the holidays is to make a plan. If you plan ahead when you will do your exercise, you will be more likely to do it. For example, I will be traveling to see family for thanksgiving. I know that I’ll have plenty of time in the morning before guests arrive and we start cooking to get in some exercise. I make sure to pack my exercise clothes and I will schedule time with myself when I get up to do a work out before doing any family activities. Sometimes my family will even join me! 

We can come up with 100 excuses not to exercise and stick to our goals but this year try to switch the mindset and think of 100 reasons you SHOULD stick to your goals! Above all else the holiday season is a good time to reflect on what we’re thankful for and what’s important to   us. You might find the motivation to stick to your goals when you think about staying healthy to be around for many holidays to come