Family Fitness for the Holidays

November 25, 2014 Updated: November 25, 2014

It might feel like you gain weight just thinking about the holidays, but don’t despair. The holidays don’t have to end up making you feel as big as Santa Claus. You can enjoy the turkey of Thanksgiving all the way to the champagne of New Year’s (and the holidays in between) by using these tips along the way.

Get your family moving. Weight is always an equation of calories in vs. calories out, so encourage your entire family to be active even in down times. Hop on the treadmill during your favorite holiday TV shows or movies. Park farther away at the stores, mall or post office and take the stairs with your packages. Better yet, get your workouts at the gym in early in the morning before you get derailed by holiday hoopla.

Turn shopping into a family sport. Zigzag the mall to get all the gifts on your list, take the stairs, and skip the escalators and elevators. Calorie burn can triple for each minute of stair climbing vs. mall walking, so take the stairs whenever you can. And while you are at it, do some arm curls with all of those gift bags in hand.

Eat before the party.  Never starve yourself before a holiday party. The hungrier you are, the less capable you are of staying in control. Eat a protein-based snack before the party begins and avoid the grazing mentality at parties. Take a plate and fill it only once with appetizers. Grazing can result in a major caloric disaster.

Escape the sedentary couch routine. Step away from the living room and invite family and friends to get active. Get out and power walk to check out the neighborhood holiday lights. If you have a video gaming system like the Wii-Fit or the Kinect for the Xbox, use it to get a family competition going. Choose gifts that encourage venturing outdoors, such as sleds, ice skates and snowshoes, or surprise family with some new fitness equipment for your home.

The holidays don’t have to mean lights out on your fitness regimen. Just stay smart and the festivities won’t derail your health.

Source: Visit the Life Fitness blog for more health and fitness information.

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