Finding time to exercise can be a challenge the majority of the year, but as we approach the holidays, finding time to prioritize this activity becomes even more difficult.
On top of the usual stressors included in the holiday season, maintaining or adding in an exercise routine can feel overwhelming. At the same time, exercise itself may provide more energy, reduce stress and tension, and even mitigate those extra calories.
So, where do we find the motivation and the balance? These quick tips will help you plan ahead, prepare yourself for any eventuality and provide workouts to help you stay active this holiday season.
If you're traveling over the holiday season, planning ahead can make all the difference:
- Search for walking trails near to your location
- If staying at a hotel, inquire about whether they have an exercise facility
- If that's not an option, find any nearby gyms and ask if they have guest passes or specials
- Talk to your family in advance and suggest taking a walk or doing something active together
- Plan simple workout that doesn't require much space or equipment.
Try to plan your workout schedule beforehand. Even if you have to change it (which is likely when you're traveling), you've already made a commitment to exercise. It's easier to stick with it when you have it planned than to squeeze it in later.
If you're not sure about your schedule or what commitments you may have with family, plan for the worst-case scenario. Try these quick tips for squeezing in a workout even when you only have minutes to spare:
- Bring a workout plan with you. Plan a 10-minute routine you could do right in your bedroom. For example, you could choose 10 exercises and do each for 1 minute (squats, lunges, pushups, jumping jacks) or check out the holiday workouts below for other ideas.
- Bring resistance bands. They travel well and you can use them for quick strength exercises whenever you catch a few minutes.
- Pull up a YouTube workout on your laptop or phone that doesn't require additional equipment
- Wear your running or walking shoes as much as you can. You may find a 20-minute window when people are napping or before dinner for a quick walk or run.
You may even want to invite some family members for a walk. Sometimes there are others who'd love to workout, but they're just waiting for someone else to step up first.
Use Every Opportunity
Planning and preparing are nice, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. If you find there's just no way to get in a workout, get creative and find ways to move your body any way you can:
- Walk as much as possible. If weather permits and distance is reasonable, try walking to wherever you're going instead of immediately defaulting to driving.
- If children are present, join in the games!
- If staying with another family family member, offer to help with the housework, shoveling snow or raking leaves.
If you need some workout ideas, these routines cover everything from cardio to circuit training to strength workouts with no equipment. Print them out and take them with you or just use them for inspiration in creating your own workouts.
The most important thing is to be realistic and go easy on yourself. You aren't always in charge of your schedule during the holidays so you can only do your best. Remind yourself that you can get back to your routine when you're back home.