The holidays are here! And that means plenty of fun with friends and family – along with a bountiful selection of food. Immediately after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the Battle of the Bulge is one of the most traditional yearly holiday happenings.
An Inside Look at the (Hefty) Holiday Season
Instead of a time to rejoice, many Americans regard the November and December festivities with dread. After all, the typical person in the U.S. gains about 7-10 pounds every holiday season. Everybody knows this is true. Right?
Actually, that figure is somewhat of an urban myth. The damage isn’t nearly that bad, although many people do put on weight, generally less than 5 pounds. This extra weight gain is partially due to excessive caloric intake, for sure. But there’s another factor to consider: your schedule.
The Curse of “Free Time”
Most people think of the holidays as a time to unwind. There’s vacation hours to burn at work, and many of those tasks at hand can simply wait until after January 1st. That sounds OK in theory, but it rarely works out that way. Between the emotional highs and lows, increased travel and other stresses, it’s hard to stay on track – especially for people who make a conscious effort to eat and exercise the right way.
So what can you do to stay fit during those busy holiday weeks and months? We’ve put together a list that can help your remain active, even when your itinerary suggests it’s impossible to do so.
How to Stay Active During the Holidays
Here are 5 things that will help limit those holiday pounds:
- Pack for activity. If you’ll be away from home for more than a few days, pack your regular exercise clothes. The simple act of packing exercise clothes will provide extra motivation (and an added reminder before you depart) to stay fit during the holidays.
- Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Look, it’s a given you might not be able to do your regular routine. But that doesn’t mean a 1-mile walk instead of your usual 3-mile jaunt is bad for you. Keep plugging away, even if you can’t commit the usual time during the holiday months.
- If necessary, make time. If your schedule is too busy during normal waking hours, simply wake up a little earlier. Create a space in your day to stay active.
- Don’t dread the outdoors. Sure, wintertime isn’t the most comfortable environment, but sensible gear will keep you warm enough. Cold-weather walking also has promising health benefits, such as warding off obesity and different mental maladies.
- Make a holiday routine. Switch gears from Halloween to New Year’s. Account for travel, family visits and other planned get-togethers, then base your exercise schedule on remaining available time.
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