Stay active throughout the holidays

Who has time to exercise when we’re planning family gatherings, cooking turkey dinners, buying presents and decorating for the holidays?

If you’re like most of us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are a hiatus on exercise. Sneaking in a little physical activity can help you manage holiday stress, keep off extra pounds and maintain your activity level so it’s easier to get back on track in the New Year. Here are some ideas to get you moving during the holidays:

  1. Count steps. If traveling, wear a pedometer at the airport or at your relatives’ place. Keep track of movement (or lack thereof) by wearing a step counter and keeping track of your activity. Be aware of how your body feels on days when you’re very active (and pat yourself in the back), and notice how inactivity affects you.
  2. Clean your house with intensity. Prepare for a visit from Santa by sweeping, vacuuming and tidying up vigorously. You don’t have to do it all in one day, it’s okay to break up the tasks to avoid injury. After your house is clean, you would have burned enough calories as you would during a long, brisk walk.
  3. Walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, borrow Aunt Edna’s pet. The outdoor time will give you a nice break from indoor work and allow you a brief moment of solitude to reflect of what’s important. You can also tell your dog your concerns about any family issues. Dogs are good listeners.
  4. Create a new tradition. Turn physical activity into a new family tradition by inviting your children for a walk, a run on the beach (this is Florida!), or a picnic in the park. If you’re visiting relatives where it’s cold, go ice skating or build a snowman together. Are there any walking or hiking trails nearby?
  5. Play time. If you’re hanging out with kids, set up a game of tag, football or hide and seek. Getting the kids outside while grown-ups work in the kitchen might be a welcomed gift to your relatives.
  6. Dance away. Play some music and dance! You can burn a few calories by dancing, and the kids will love the excitement. You might be surprised by the reaction of your older family members (did you know grandpa could move like that?)

Remember that staying active helps you maintain your health and enjoy spending time with family without giving up your health goals.

Get a free health screening and talk to a wellness coach at any of the Baptist Y Healthy Living Centers.  

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