One of the most common bad habits that stem from the hustle and bustle of the holidays is forgoing exercise. You don’t have to be a compulsive gym-goer to burn calories. If you can’t maintain your usual regimen now, walk a little more—take an extra lap around the mall during your holiday shopping. Or do ten minutes of strength-training at home.
But here are some great ways to add in that calorie burn during the holidays:
- Get double duty from your shopping by power walking. Wear your walking shoes when you go to the mall and put in a few laps before you make your first stop at a store. Keep your packages in a backpack so your arms are free to pump as you walk. The extra load from the backpack will help you burn more calories.
- Combine family time with fitness. Take a walk with the kids and/or dog. They need the exercise as much as you do. Rake the leaves together, make a pile, and everyone jumps in. Then rake them up again.
- Don’t fight the parking. Plan to park your car in the back of the parking lot when shopping. You won’t find a close spot up front anyway. This way you don’t waste time looking for a close parking space, and the extra walk across the lot will do you good.
- Turn TV time into a workout. If you have time to sit and watch television, then you must also have time to go to the gym or walk or run and so on. However, if you want to exercise ‘and’ watch television, do pushes, crunches, run in place, wall sits and chair tricep dips. No matter how you do it, try not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time!
- Turn chores into exercise. While cleaning might not be the most fun activity, it’s something we all have to do, and it can definitely be a workout if you want it to be. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be as efficient and quick-paced as possible, and I guarantee you’ll work up a sweat. If you’re doing lighter housework that is harder to get your heart rate up (like laundry or organizing), throw in some lunges or push-ups every few minutes to start feeling the burn!
Remember, exercise gives you energy and keeps you healthy to keep going in that busy life of yours! So don’t think of exercise as another to-do to squeeze in on your already busy schedule. Instead, think of it as maintenance for your health and a way to de-stress and do something for you!
Sarah Kuretzky, MA, CPT, CHHC