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How To: Stay Active During the Holiday Season

Bethany Kochan

It’s that time of year again! Holidays, festivities, and celebrations galore. This is also often the time of year that health and fitness goals fall by the wayside. But, they don’t have to! We’ve come up with some ways to help you stay active while still enjoying the season with family and friends.

First things first, let’s talk safety first!

While not always ideal, it is still possible to get outside and go for a walk or run in the cold. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic so you can enjoy exercising outdoors but also protect yourself:

  • Check the weather – This doesn’t mean just look out the window. In winter, the wind chill can be vastly different from the air temperature, so look online or listen to the weather to find out what the actual conditions are that day. Also, look to make sure that walkways are clear and salted. Even walking, you can easily slip on the ice.
  • Know the danger signs – Frostbite and hypothermia are extremely dangerous. Don’t take it lightly! Frostbite typically occurs on exposed areas of your body. Think nose, cheeks, ears, and even fingers if you’re not wearing gloves. Numbness, loss of feeling, or a tingling sensation are early warning signs. Get inside ASAP if you feel this at all. Hypothermia means that your body temperature is actually lower than normal – abnormally low. Intense shivering, slurred speech, fatigue and loss of coordination are signs.
  • Dress in layers – Wear lightweight fabrics next to your skin because you can sweat, even if it’s cold outside, when exercising at a high intensity. Layer over them with materials that will help block the wind and keep your core temperature stable. Jackets, vests, scarves or turtle-neck type shirts, hats and gloves. Yes, you’ll need to wash them, but you’ll be safe. And make sure that there are pockets for your phone so you can call in case of emergency. Keep the outer layers in bright or reflective colors since daylight is also at a premium.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Even though it’s cold, getting your fluids in is just as important as when it’s hot outside.

Now, time can be scarce during these weeks as well. This means you might not have as many opportunities to drive to the gym, get your workout in, and then head home. But guess what? You can get a great workout without leaving your house even if you don’t have equipment. Feeling doubtful? That’s okay! Just give it a shot. Here are some options for you might enjoy:

  • Christmas special and workout – Want to watch all of the holiday specials at home with your family? Us, too! So, use those commercials to get in a workout and then cuddle up to enjoy the show. Push-ups, planks, squats, bridges, dips, crunches, jumping jacks, and lunges are just a few of the body weight exercises that you can do during the commercial breaks. A great workout does not have to be 30-60 minutes straight to be effective. The American Council on Exercise also has an exercise library where you can search by choosing a body part and equipment or no equipment. Get creative!
  • Use the Internet – Have some time? Go ahead and try one of these ideas from our blog article on workouts you can do in your living room. Yoga, core work, kickboxing, and stretching are just a few things you can do in the comfort of your home to save time during the season.
  • Count those steps – Chances are you are busier than normal right now. Different gatherings, shopping and just getting your house ready can result in to a lot of movement. Watch your steps increase in no time if you carry your phone or have a wearable device that syncs with Noom. This activity adds up, so don’t discount that benefit!
  • Enjoy the outdoors – Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build a fort, shovel the drive and walk ways, go sledding, ski with friends or take the kids skating. These are all great ways to sneak in some activity that is fun for everyone!
  • Be kind to yourself – This is a joyful time of year, no matter what holidays you celebrate. Enjoy the time with family and friends. Give yourself a break and be flexible in your workouts. Maybe instead of 4-5 days a week, you can only get 2-3. That’s okay! Get back to those regular workouts as soon as you can. And enjoy the memories you’re making.