With parties, school events, travel and out-of-town guest that need entertaining, it seems for many people that making time for their exercise sessions becomes secondary to the holiday commitments. In conjuction with that, their dietary habits become tested as well, resulting in a double whammy to all the hard work we do throughout the year.
So, I have come up with 10 Holiday Fit Tips to keep us on track during this trying time, or at least help us from sliding backward. Some tips are old stand-bys, but effective none-the-less.
1. Make a plan.
If you know that your week will be filled with commitments and you can't make your regular scheduled exercise sessions, plan ahead and reschedule them whenever you can. If you still can't fit them in, get up 30-60 earlier and lace up your walking shoes. A brisk walk outside or on the treadmill of 3.5 miles/hour will burn between 120-180 calories in just 30 minutes depending on your weight and the terrain.
2. Park your car at the end of the lot and WALK.
3. Take the stairs up and down.
Wherever you see stairs, take them! At home, in the stores, at the office, etc. You can strengthen your hamstrings and quads and burn some calories.
4. Use your body weight and props.
Don't have time for strength training? Use your body! Two of my favorite exercises to do at ANY time and anywhere are ab contractions and Kegals*. You can do these standing, sitting or walking anywhere and no one will even know. Just suck your stomach in like you're being zipped up in a tight wetsuit and hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds and release.
You can also do squats or lunges while brushing your teeth. Walking lunges while vacuuming is a great way to keep your legs strong and get your house ready for guests at the same time. While lifting those heavy boxes of holiday decorations, use your legs. You can use your shopping bags and grocery bags to keep your arms in shape by doing bicep curls with them while doing your holiday shopping. Set up your holiday cooking by placing your cutting board to the left or right of your bowl or pan, then rotate your torso from left to right while chopping and placing the food to the bowl or pan. Be sure to use good form while performing these tasks. Keep your abdominals engaged, squeeze your glutes muscles and don't forget to breathe. And when performing the squats and lunges, keep those knees behind your toes.
5. Make standing still work for you.
While standing in line at stores or waiting at airports, go up and down on your toes and work your calf muscles.
6. Get the family moving.
Entertaining guests? Tell them all to bring their sneakers and compfy clothes and get everyone moving by organizing an after holiday dinner walk, hike or football game. If you have relatives staying with you for several days, get them up for a brisk morning walk every morning. It's a great way to bond, spend time together and burn calories all at the same time.
7. Fill up on vegetables.
Before going to a party (or at the party if it's available), fill up on the veggie platter before heading for the fatty and sweet dishes. You will feel fuller and won't want to eat as much of the fattening choices.
8. Water, water, water.
Tis the season to be tipsy. Alcohol is not your friend when trying to lose or maintain your weight. Of course it is best to refrain from drinking all together, but if you do indulge in a holiday cocktail or two, one of the best ways to limit your consumption and not ruin your hard work is to stay hydrated by drinking 1 full 8 oz glass of water per alcoholic drink. It helps to keep you hydrated and full so you will drink less. In addition to that, the more you can dilute the alcohol with selzter or water the better (e.g. vodka/soda, white wine spritzer, bourbon/water, etc.). If you don't want to drink, but feel the peer pressure to have a drink in your hand, order a club soda with lime and ask for it in a rocks glass. It will look like a vodka tonic and no one will know!
9. Squeeze in a quick workout at work.
Use your breaks at work to do some tricep dips on your desk, and bring a stability ball to sit on to strengthen your core. You can also keep a set of 5-10 lb dumbbells under your desk to do bicep curls and shoulder exercises.
10. The 10 minute mini set.
Every morning before you get in the shower, do 15-30 reps each of squats, push-up, crunches and jumping jacks. This should only take you about 10 minutes. If you have time, do 2 sets.
I encourage you to use your own creativity to come up with some fit tips of your own. The more you focus on what you can do to stay on track, the more focus you will have to resist the temptations and make the time for your exercise program, even if its just 10 minutes here and there. Happy holidays!