When you think of the holidays, your first thought probably isn’t fitness. Between the indulgent food, the freezing temperatures and the onslaught of parties and activities, it’s harder than ever to feel motivated to workout. But it isn’t like your fitness goals disappear throughout the months of November and December. Still, holiday conditions can make it a little bit more difficult. Specifically, when you travel or go on holiday, you may not have enough room for at home aerobics. Whether you are traveling abroad or sharing your space with your family, these tips will help you stay fit and avoid the holiday weight gain all season long.
Use Shopping to Squeeze in Some Fitness
Sure, you could buy all your holiday gifts online on Cyber Monday. But taking the opportunity to shop IRL gives you a chance to get out and get active—while crossing off some names on your holiday shopping list as well. Do your shopping at the mall to get a little power walking in between stores. Park far away from the buildings and walk up the escalators to make it even healthier. Just make sure not to be tempted by Cinnabon!
Invest in Some Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an amazing, travel-friendly way to stay fit over the holidays, even when space is limited. They’re great for strength training, are lighter than free weights, and can be folded up and placed on a shelf when you’re not using them. You can hit almost every major muscle group with these—and add extra resistance to squats, sit ups and rowing.
Keep Young Children Occupied
Are you traveling with children? Take advantage of that little-kid gusto to get some extra exercise in! Take the kiddos for a walk while everyone else relaxes at home or bring them outside to play tag. Have older kids to entertain? Try throwing the football around or playing basketball or soccer. Anything that gets the heart rate up is golden!
Try a Low-Impact Cardio Workout
One of the downsides of apartment living is that you have to make sure you don’t disturb the other people in your building—which you may well do if you’re bouncing up and down to an aerobics video. Low-impact cardio workouts are easy on your joints and on your downstairs neighbors. You can also soften the impact and limit noise by purchasing a set of foam mats to workout on. A low-impact workout performed on a foam mat also works great if you’re staying with family or friends for the holidays. Use it to squeeze in an early morning workout before everyone else wakes up.
Sign Up for a Holiday-Themed Race
Among a certain fitness-minded section of the population, no Thanksgiving is complete without a full 5K turkey trot race. This kind of themed events are the perfect opportunity to get out and get a little exercise, while staying in the holiday spirit. Most have a companion run/walk if you’re not keen on running a 5K. And nothing makes those holiday meals taste better than a little old-fashioned exertion!
Build a Ten-Minute Workout
Let’s be real: sometimes it’s just impossible to fit in a full-sized workout when you’re busy entertaining friends and family or running a million holiday errands. That’s where having a bite-sized workout plan, one that you can do, say, in 10 minutes, can help a lot. Or you can just do a few rounds of HIIT—high-impact interval training. New research shows that a few minutes of interval training may be just as beneficial as an hour jogging on the treadmill, so you can pack a lot of workout into a short amount of time. A professional trainer can help you come up with a custom training program that works for your situation, too. A few reps of burpees, some pushups, a couple of jump squats, and a round of bicycle crunches will definitely give you a good workout!
Remember, the best gift you can give yourself for the holidays is not having to work off any extra pounds next year!
About the author: Jesse Silkoff is an avid runner and tennis player. He currently resides in Austin, TX where he works as the President and Co-Founder of FitnessTrainer.com, the leading online marketplace to find a local personal trainer that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals!