The holiday season is almost upon us, and while that means lots of joy, camaraderie and good times, it also means lots of feasts. Of course, we know that feasts mean a lot of food. And what happens when you eat lots of food? You tend to gain weight.
No one likes to gain weight.
To make matters worse, the holiday season is one of the best times of year to be lazy. Believe us, no one is judging you. We all like to be lazy. Unfortunately, that adds to the problem of gaining weight.
That’s exactly why you and your family should make it a point to be more active this year.
Did you know that just 30 minutes of activity a day can help you maintain your weight or lose it? Plus, exercise relieves stress and gives you much-needed energy. Also, if you do it right, it can be a lot of fun for you and your family, too.
Besides, it’s important to stay active at any age. Did you know most health problems associated with aging can be prevented by regular physical activity?
You don’t have to go for a multi-mile run, lift heavy dumbbells or climb a mountain to be active, either. All it takes is something as simple as a walk or spending time outdoors.
In the spirit of the holiday, we’re going to look at some unique — but fun — ways to stay active this season.
1. Go For A Walk And Enjoy The Lights
It might be a little early for Christmas lights, but they’ll be up before you know it! If anyone in your family — like your children — hate going for walks around the neighborhood, you can disguise the activity. Take a walk and enjoy the lights your neighbors have invested time and effort into putting up.
You should be able to get plenty of exercise while exploring.
2. Do Some Holiday Activities
The winter season is a great time to play in the snow, go ice skating, sledding or enjoy the great outdoors. Even if you live in a warm, sunny place like Florida, there are still lots of things going on for you and your family to participate in.
More than likely, there will be holiday events taking place in your local area. Maybe your local church is hosting a nativity event? Maybe a nearby neighborhood is hosting a Christmas light walk?
Whatever is happening, you’re sure to be up and walking, exploring a local area or just scoping out the event. As long as you don’t spend the whole time sitting, it should be plenty of exercise!
3. Take Advantage of the Weather, No Matter What It Is
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “winter” activities are only possible in a cold, snowy area. That’s not necessarily true. If it’s warm, have a water balloon fight instead of a snowball fight. Go to the beach and spend some time skimboarding or surfboarding — as opposed to sledding.
Even if it gets too cold to participate in the wintery-type activities, you’re still in great shape! There are plenty of things to do that don’t involve getting wet or cold.
No matter what, use your imagination and have some fun — instead of sitting at home just playing on smartphones, tablets, video game consoles or computers.
4. Do Your Chores
Have a lawn to mow? How about some snow to shovel? Need to clean the outside of your windows and doors? Even doing regular house chores like laundry, sweeping or dusting can burn calories and keep you active.
If it’s a lazy day at home, spend some time doing your chores just to make sure you get your active time in. You don’t have to do it all alone, either. Get your family to join the fun.
5. Take the Stairs
If you go shopping — and you probably will — make a habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone who weighs 150 pounds will burn about 10 calories walking upstairs, as opposed to 1.5 calories taking the elevator. In other words, take the stairs every time. It’s better for your health.
6. Go for a Holiday Run
Fitness and health are growing more popular every day, believe it or not, and that’s how things should be. That’s why you tend to see a lot more news about local runs and active events. If you’re not doing anything substantial, participate in a local holiday run like the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run.
This would give you plenty of exercise because you have to train — you don’t just get off the couch one day and run a 5K the next. It takes time to prepare and build up the endurance to make it through the run.
7. Go for It and Get Moving
So, while you may indulge in some extra holiday cookies or an extra helping or two of stuffing, they don’t need to lead to weight gain. Get up and move it this season — you may just find some new traditions to add to your annual festivities, too.
If you need some inspiration, check out some Holiday Inspired Workouts from our friends over at Fix.com. They’ve put together some seasonal ideas on how to incorporate a fitness routine into the busy holidays, and have created a great infographic!
Jennifer Landis is a 27-year-old healthy living blogger who loves yoga, running, and dancing it out with her toddler! You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or by following her on Twitter: @jenniferelandis.