We typically eat more and exercise less during the holidays. If we get too much out of balance with our food intake and our activity output, we may literally be “bursting” with holiday cheer! To help prevent our winter holiday season from coming “apart at the seams,” here are nine tips to fit in some physical activity.
1. It’s a “shoe-in.” As much as you can, wear running or comfortable walking shoes so you can get moving whenever there’s an opportunity. Pop a casserole in the oven and head out the door for a walk or jog while it’s baking. Park farther away and walk to your destination. Walk the mall before you shop the mall.
2. Take the stairs. “In one minute, a 150-pound person burns approximately 10 calories walking upstairs and only 1.5 calories riding an elevator,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. Work out with your mobile device. Download an app or video for your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, etc.) or watch an online video that will help you get moving. Some of these may be especially helpful when you‘re traveling and staying in a hotel or with friends. Avoid workouts with lots of noisy activity that can bring management to your hotel door. Use your favorite search engine or check with the app store for your mobile device to find apps and videos that inspire you.
4. Find trails and tracks before you travel. Visit the USA Track & Field website at http://www.usatf.org/routes for routes for walking or running in your destination city. Check with your host or hotel as to their safety before you take off. The hotel or your host may have additional suggestions. My husband and I discovered a path around a nearby hotel on an upcoming trip that was perfect for us through a search at this site.
5. Try some tempting tunes. If you like to work out to music, “gift” yourself with some new tunes to get motivated. For example, searching for “holiday fitness music” or “Christmas fitness music” in the iTunes store yielded several downloadable albums for the winter holiday season. Or, you could put together your own playlist. A similar search in the “MP3 Music” category on Amazon.com also found several tunes. Check your favorite music source site for possible motivation.
6. Clean your house. Set aside several hours one day and REALLY clean your house. Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing while folding and putting away laundry, etc. all burn calories. Get workouts the old-fashioned way — by “working” out!
7. Build activity into family visits and outings. Encourage house guests to bring workout clothes suitable for walking or perhaps activities at a local health club. Go outside for a hike and enjoy nature! An added benefit: By getting outside, you can’t eat all the holiday leftovers lurking in the house.
8. Fly with wheels (or a backpack). If you’re flying during the holidays, use the time between flights to get in some activity. If time allows, walk to a far-away gate vs. taking a “people mover.” Walk vs. wait at your gate until you can board your flight. If you are lugging carry-on luggage, make it easier and more comfortable to move by using a wheeled suitcase or a backpack.
The important thing to remember is to enjoy the holidays and try to be healthy while doing it!
Nickels, MS, RD/LD, is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Garfield County.