Exercise helps me stay in shape whether it’s swimsuit season or sweat pant weather. While I don’t always like hitting the gym, I love the results so I make an effort to maintain a regular fitness routine throughout the year.
The holidays always throw my routine into a loop, though. Between shopping, entertaining guests and vacation days, I don’t always have time to maintain my normal schedule. I have to get creative, and here are a few tricks that work for me and could help you maintain your exercise routine also.
1. Don’t take time off. You really want to immerse yourself into the holiday as you visit family, buy presents and bake treats. Taking even two weeks off to celebrate the season, though, makes it even harder to start back into your exercise routine when January rolls around.
To combat schedule changes, I reduce the intensity of my fitness routine and spread my hour-a-day workout into six 10-minute sessions. For example, while you’re waiting for cookies to bake, run in place. Do push-ups in between each gift you wrap. With these and other short fitness bursts, you stay in shape throughout the holiday season.
2. Schedule fitness into your daily planner. You have good intentions of exercising after work, but making dinner or making a trip to the mall easily deters your best-laid plans. In ink, write exercise into your schedule.
Sometimes I exercise in the morning before work. If I have guests staying over, I always move my exercise equipment into my basement so as not to disturb them during my early morning workout. Alternatively, you could lift weights or run on the treadmill while you watch the morning news.
Furthermore, try scheduling workouts during work hours. Take an invigorating walk, run up and down the stairs during your mid-morningbreak, or (if you’re lucky enough to have a gym onsite) hit the fitness center over lunch. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a traditional desk chair. Use a resistance band while talking on the phone. Planning fitness into your schedule prioritizes it.
3. Shopping can be fun or stressful depending on your perspective. Turn the holiday necessity into exercise when you intentionally park as far from the mall as possible. Power walk between stores, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. I also try to do lunges as I load the car and carry my packages into the house. That way, shopping doubles as exercise. It’s silly at first, but every little bit helps!
4. I love holiday parties! I can sample great homemade treats, socialize with friends and dance. Take advantage of those holiday parties, and get your groove on. You’ll burn calories and get in some extra exercise as you dance the night away.
5. Every holiday includes entertaining out-of-town guests. Don’t use your family and friends as an excuse to stop exercising. Instead, invite them to join you. My guests know I exercise, and I can often cajole them into joining me for a walk or jog after dinner. If we have snow, they love playing in it and building snowmen. The exercise keeps us active as we spend time together.
6. I usually end up traveling during the holiday vacation, but these fun days challenge my fitness routine. Last year, I discovered that free gym memberships are one way I can stay active while on vacation. I sign up at a gym near where I’m staying and make time to work out. My fitness routine remains about the same, and I don’t pay extra to stay in shape while I’m on vacation.
Of course, there are always bumps in the fitness road, especially during these busy months. It’s okay to drop a few responsibilities from your schedule. Make every effort to include exercise, though. Your body will thank you as you stay in shape during the holiday season.