How about this… stay on the fitness wagon this year. Even if you just teeter at the edge. You’re busier than usual, so December doesn’t need to be your proudest fitness month. But anything is better than nothing. Anything. Here are three ways to keep active and keep your metabolism boosted through the holiday season with minimal planning and compromise.
Recently I spent a weekend out of town, a fact-of-life hiatus from my exercise routine. I set my alarm 35 minutes early so I could have a quick workout at the end of my hotel room bed. My family stayed sleeping while I exercised by the dim light from the bathroom, in my PJs, no shoes, no excuses. No gym required, it’s impressive what can be done with only a moveBALL™ and a chair.
Holidays are a special time of year when if you don’t exercise first thing in the morning, it doesn’t get done. Everything and anything turns into an excuse, and your day disintegrates before your eyes. Stop thinking and simply wake up and move. Then pat yourself on the back, jump in the shower, and the rest of your day will be magical.
Just because a chair or sofa or loveseat or stool is available doesn’t mean you need to sit on it. The very moment you sit down, your spine contorts and a negative physiological cascade takes over every body system. Circulation, digestion, respiration, endocrine, and even brain function slow to a crawl.
When seated, your metabolism hits an all-time low, which is particularly detrimental at a time when you’re mindlessly consuming turkey stuffing and butter tarts. Standing instead of sitting is a simple strategy to keep your metabolism elevated. Burning these extra calories is reason enough to stay standing whenever possible, not to mention the correlation between prolonged sitting and obesity.
3. Make physical activity part of the fun
Your body loves vigorous winter activities, even if your brain tries to convince you otherwise. Sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing – get outdoors for fresh air and an endorphin surge. Even just a daily brisk walk will do the trick. Cross your fingers and hope for a snowfall, so you can bundle up and shovel the driveway. Are you going somewhere warm this holiday season? Avoid the beach chair and opt for biking, hiking, swimming, etc. instead. Find ways for physical activity to be the reason you spend time with family and friends.
Sure, December is a time when you may be excused from your regular time at the gym. But it doesn’t have to be a month of forgotten workouts amplified with sweet and savory treats. With some planning and a dash of creativity, you'll see the same numbers when you stand on the scale January 1st, and you'll look forward to the New Year with optimism and vigour.