Weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is a big concern for most Americans, but why does this happen?
For many, life is hectic during the holiday season, stress levels are high, and there doesn’t seem to be enough time. There are so many things to do: planning, shopping, parties, traveling—you name it.
This time creates opportunities to have “perfect” excuses to stop exercising and managing our diet. Dr. William Connor, professor of medicine at OHSU School of Medicine, said: “The overall clinical impression is that people, after the holidays, weigh more than before because of feasting and lack of physical activity.”
Let’s face it now, because when Jan. 1 comes around and you’ve gained 10 pounds, you may wish you had done something different.
Here are some suggestions to stay fit during the holidays:
1. Schedule Appointments With Yourself. During the holiday season, we often react more than we do during the rest of the year. Phone calls, text messages, and last-minute invitations can have us going in directions we didn’t intend. The No. 1 way to stay fit during hectic times is to schedule and keep appointments with yourself—to exercise.
2. Be Prepared. Keep a gym bag in your car with a workout towel, tennis shoes, and gym clothes. You never know when you might be able to use them.
3. Park Your Car Far Away. A brisk walk across the parking lot is an excellent way to get some cardio exercise. Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Stairs are an excellent fat-burning exercise.
4. Exercise During Down Times. Whether you are at work waiting for copies to be printed or sending a fax, or at home cooking dinner, do some exercises when you have a couple of minutes between daily duties. Push-ups off the counter, free squats, and lunges are excellent choices.
5. Exercise During Commercials. Whether you listen to the radio or watch television, exercising during commercial breaks is a great way to get the whole family involved in staying fit for the holidays.
6. Expend More Energy During Cleaning Routines. Whether it’s washing dishes or cleaning the floor, put some extra “sweat equity” into it.
7. Do Everything With Meaning and Purpose. To stay fit, treat all of your activities as a workout. Walking across the parking lot, climbing the stairs, or washing the car should be done at a brisk pace that keeps your heart rate up for a sustained period of time.
You will be amazed at the results if you follow the seven suggestions above. Imagine how good you will feel in January if you are in better shape than you were before the holiday season. How would that benefit your self-esteem and your overall good health?
Alexander Morentin, a clinical exercise specialist, has been helping people lose weight and achieve vibrant health since 1987. He is the author of “Better Living With Whole Foods: The Delicious and Nutritious Guide to Looking Great and Feeling Younger,” and is a passionate fitness coach, author, speaker, and consultant. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com