Just because it’s the holiday season, it doesn’t mean you need to kick your fitness goals to the curb! Even if you feel strapped for time amidst a busier schedule, (with more on your to-do list like gift shopping and wrapping, card writing, menu-planning and more), there’s still time to squeeze in exercise. And if you’re not home for the holidays? Not a problem. If more travel takes you away from your normal fitness routine and environment, you can still get a good workout in from just about anywhere (no equipment required).
Plus, if you don’t make the effort to stick with working out now, you’re going to be panicking by the time January rolls around (and you know how hard it can be to stick to those resolutions)!
A much better approach is to try to stay well-balanced – even if it means switching things up a little bit. Besides, this is a season where there will be lots of extra food indulgences around (from work dessert tables to seasonal coffee drinks to holiday parties and more). Compensate for the extra calories by regularly breaking a sweat!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to stay fit during the holidays – with helpful tools such as quick at-home workouts (including travel workouts), and our best holiday fit tips. Don’t give up on getting physical at the time of year you need it most, just read on and get moving!
Why Should You Stay Fit During the Holidays?
Along with helping you meet your weight loss goals, there are so many additional health benefits to a regular fitness schedule – and devoting just a small amount of time for quick workouts can actually pay off big time.
Four major benefits of staying active this time of year include:
1) Relieve stress and anxiety
For as magical as the holiday season is, it can also be quite stressful. But studies show that regular exercise is a powerful stress-busting tool that can also produce feelings of positivity through the production of endorphins.
2) Boost mood (relieve feelings of depression)
The holiday season may be harder for some people than others, but exercise has been shown to decrease feelings of depression. In one study, people who stopped exercising for two weeks experienced a noticeable increase in negativity and a down mood.
3) Help maintain a healthy weight
As mentioned, the holidays (and wintertime in general) brings lots of food temptations that can sink a hole in your healthy diet. But by supporting a fast metabolism and helping you burn more calories each day, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, and avoid gain.
4) Increase energy
Having a busier schedule towards the end of the year paired with unrealistic expectations of perfection, plus emotional stress can bring fatigue, but exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in those who do it regularly.
How to Stay Fit During the Holidays 101
Now that you have a reminder as to why physical fitness is so important all throughout the year, and especially right now, we’ll give you some of our best holiday fit tips for staying active when you feel like calling it quits…
1) Make at-home workout routines your best friend
When you workout from the comfort of your home, you save the time it would have taken to get to and from your gym or gym classes, (and look presentable). Instead, you can do at-home workouts requiring little to no equipment in 5-15 minutes, (in your PJs if you choose)! And did you know that research shows these “quickie’ workouts can be just as effective as much longer ones?!
The best part is that these make some of the best travel workouts, since you can do them in a very small space like a hotel room, and all you need is yourself and some motivation. Try this 15-minute at-home workout, this 5-minute total body morning workout, or this 5-minute ab workout to start.
2) Focus on weight maintenance (not loss)
Next, too many people become disappointed over the holiday season because they try to lose weight instead of simply maintaining the weight they have (and picking up any weight loss plans again in January). Especially if you know you want to indulge a little over the holiday season, make it your goal not to gain weight, but simply to maintain your current weight.
Since this goal seems much more reasonable and achievable, it will set you up for success, and save you from “perceived failure” food-binging, or throwing in the towel because it’s just too hard to accomplish your goals.
3) Stay in control
That being said, even though you might not be on the fast track with your weight loss goals during this season, you should still stay in the safe lane when it comes to portion control. It’s okay to indulge during this holiday season, but that means on a few meals here and there… not continuously for the final months of the year!
Instead, make it a goal to stick with whatever system your currently using to keep yourself on track. Whether that be an accountability partner, a calorie-counting app, or a food journal, make sure you’re not mindlessly consuming extra calories without even being aware of it.
4) Workout while you’re waiting
Next, make good use of all of your time, and add in some physical activity during times when you wouldn’t think to do so. If you’re on a work call tucked away in your office, what’s the harm in doing some squats?
Want something a little more discrete? Stand up and do 100 calf raises by raising your heels a few inches off the ground then slowly lowering them down. You can also contract then relax your butt and ab muscles without anyone even noticing! Contract your muscles and then hold them tight for about 3 seconds, relax and repeat – a totally secret workout!
5) Have a fun January activity to look forward to
Finally, when it comes to how to stay fit during the holidays, having a “reward” of some sort to look forward to in January can be a huge help. But here’s the catch… we aren’t talking about a reward as in some type of food or sugary dessert. Instead, it should be something fun! And of course, something physical.
Think of a fun physical activity you can do with friends, family or by yourself to kick off the new year. Whether it be a hike, a race, a ski trip, or a bicycling bar crawl (okay, this one may be a little off base!), you get the idea. You want to pick something that makes you move, so you can start your new year off right and give yourself the message that it’s going to be a great, fun-filled year where you also accomplish your goals!
What holiday fit tips are you ready to implement today?! Let us know in the comments, below.