Stay Active During the Holidays

December 2009

Trying to fit exercise in to your holiday to-do list can be stressful. But, staying active will give you energy, lessen holiday tension, and work off some of the extra calories you’re most likely eating.

So, how do you find time? These quick tips will help you stay active the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

If you’re traveling, take time to figure out what your options are beforehand so you’re ready for anything. A few ideas:

  • Find out about walking or park trails nearby
  • Find out if your hotel has an exercise room
  • If you’re staying with family, ask if they have fitness equipment
  • Find out if there’s a nearby gym and if there is a fee for visitors
  • Talk to your family in advance and suggest an activity together
  • If they aren’t into fitness, tell before you visit that you want to squeeze in a workout. Ask what they recommend so that you don’t interfere with family plans or hurt their feelings if you take time away from them.

Get Prepared

Plan for the worst-case scenario. That may be staying in grandma’s basement with no equipment and only 10 minutes to yourself. Try these quick tips for squeezing in a workout when you only have minutes to spare:

  • Plan a 10-minute routine…10 exercises, each for 1 minute (squats, lunges, pushups, jumping jacks).
  • Bring resistance bands. They travel well and you can use them for quick strength exercises.
  • If you have a laptop, bring along a workout DVD or try streaming workouts online such as
  • If guests are staying with you, move your equipment (weights or bands) into your bedroom so you can sneak in some exercise at night or in the morning.
  • 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.
  • Invite family members for a walk.

Use Every Opportunity

Get creative and find ways to move your body any way you can:

  • Walk as much as possible. Take extra laps at the mall, use the stairs, volunteer to walk the dog.
  • If you’re hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag or hide and seek.
  • Offer to help with the housework, vacuuming or raking leaves.
  • If everybody’s sitting around watching football, get on the floor for some situps or pushups. If that’s too weird, try isometric exercises — squeeze and hold the abs, the glutes or even press the hands together to engage the chest.
  • Pick up full water bottles or soup cans for quick lateral raises or overhead presses.

Doing something is better than doing nothing! You aren’t always in charge of your schedule during the holidays so remember that the holidays are about enjoying yourself and your family. Relax and get your mind and body ready for the new year.