Winter Workout: 6 Tips on Staying Active During the Holiday Season
Edward Stern is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on becoming a phlebotomist for the Guide to Health Education.
During the season of eggnog, gingerbread cookies, and family feasts, it's hard not to overindulge. And why not indulge? After working so hard all year, you’ve earned the right to kick back and treat yourself.
At the same time, the end of the year brings new opportunities. Don't just make a New Year’s resolution to “exercise more” and “live healthier;” instead, kickstart new habits by beginning them right away. Here are six ways you can stay active during the holiday season:
1. Sign up for indoor fitness classes. If you're already a member of a gym or YMCA, these classes are often free for members. Try something you've always wanted to learn, like yoga, or push yourself hard with a spin class or boot-camp. Sign up with friends to push each other to do your best, or meet some new people. For many, it's easier to stay motivated when you have others to hold you accountable.
2. Go shopping. You'll need to do some holiday shopping anyway, so plan one or two days of mega shopping at large indoor malls to get some walking time in. Walking burns calories, and depending on the size of your gift list, you can log more than two or three miles in no time. If you're looking for a serious workout, wear light ankle weights or muscle-building shoes to give your lower body a better challenge.
3. Try out winter sports. Go snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, or all of the above, especially if you never have before. Not only is this a great outing with family or friends, but it also gives you a tremendous workout--believe me, the next day muscles will be aching that you didn't know you even had before. Downhill skiing or snowboarding is great for your lower body and your core, and cross country is one of the ultimate total body workouts.
4. Play in the snow. If your town is blanketed in a layer of fluffy white snow, get outside and enjoy it. Make a snowman, have a snowball fight, play tackle football while it won't hurt to go down. Bundle up to store heat and burn more calories. If you're the working type, shovel your drive and walkways for a terrific upper body workout.
5. Check out holiday lights in your neighborhood. But don't drive—walk. Again, extra layers = extra calories burned, so bundle up well. Grab a significant other, friend, or relative in town for the holidays and go for a long walk around the neighborhood to admire the holiday decorations and yard displays. Sometimes, exercise is at its best when it's disguised as something else.
6. Decorate the house. Housework burns calories too, even just everyday chores like vacuuming and dusting. For the holidays, ramp it up a little bit by going all out on the decorations. Spending lots of time on a ladder hanging up holiday lights or hauling out big, light-up reindeer from storage can be a good workout. So is cutting your own holiday tree, especially for upper body and core.
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