The holiday season is here, with lots of distractions to derail our normal exercise routines. You may not get to the studio or gym as regularly, but it’s not a lost cause! Here’s how I try to work in a few minutes of healthy activity this time of year. Even a few minutes a day is a helpful antidote to the season’s extra helpings of food, alcohol and stress.
- Park farther away. One of my favorites and too easy. Stop circling the parking lot for a close-in space. Park at the end of the lot (or in a central spot that gives you access to several stores on your list), and get in a brisk walk that elevates your heart rate. You get extra credit if you carry heavy shopping bags.
- Take advantage of downtime. Waiting for the oven to preheat, or for something to finish baking? Five minutes of breathing and moving is a great energizer. Use them for a quick walk or a few at-home exercises. I like this rowing series on the mat for an ab challenge and also love a quick spin on my Pilates Arc, which has been in almost every room of my house.
- Carry your luggage. If you’re traveling for the holidays, pack light and carry your bags some of the time instead of rolling them. Hauling the extra weight builds strength.
- Hit the dance floor. When you’re with friends and family over the holidays, get off the couch and hit the dance floor. Find a place with music you like and get out there and move. Yes, it also counts when you rock out by yourself in the kitchen.
- Clean your house. OK, so not my favorite, but cleaning the house uses a variety of muscle groups and burns calories. Plus I truly appreciate the mental benefit of a de-cluttered, more restful environment.
- Get outdoors. We always have a houseful when I visit family for the holidays. I look for opportunities to get outside for a walk, and talk someone into going with me. The combination of fresh air and a quiet, one-on-one conversation is a great break from the hubbub.
- Step up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk instead of driving or taking the subway whenever you can. You’re already doing this, right?
- Make exercise a fun group effort. Plenty of activities – from ice-skating to bowling to shoveling snow – allow people of all ages to be active together. Everyone wins. Make it a party!
What works for you? Share your own tips at #bbheathlyholidays and let’s all help each other out this season.