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Don’t take a holiday from exercise

September 21, 2023
2 minutes

When the holiday rush is in full gear, there’s plenty to do—from attending gatherings to tracking down last-minute gifts. No wonder you might struggle to stick to your exercise regimen, like a lot of us do this time of year.

These suggestions may help keep you moving from turkey day through the new year:

Turn mall shopping into mall walking. When you head to the shopping center, bring your gift list—and your walking shoes. Try walking briskly from store to store.

Get in a mini workout. Don’t have time for a 30-minute routine? Try exercising in short bursts, whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Maybe that’s five minutes of jumping jacks, leg lunges or jogging in place.

Plan active holiday gatherings. Invite friends and family to go on walks to look at holiday decorations. Play a game of touch football after you put away the holiday leftovers. Have a friendly snowball fight—or a distance-throwing contest.

Make your bedroom a mini gym. Are your guests staying in the room where you normally work out? Try exercising in your bedroom before everyone wakes up. Choose activities that don’t require much space, such as working with hand weights or doing calisthenics.

Headed home for the holidays? Pack some portable workout gear. You can usually fit stretchy resistance bands, jump ropes and light hand weights in luggage or car trunks. Or bring your laptop and stream some workout videos. If there’s a gym near your destination, you might call ahead and ask if they offer day passes you can use.

Remember your reasons for moving. Exercising regularly is one of the healthiest things you can do. As a bonus, it can relieve holiday stress and boost your energy and your mood—all while helping you burn off extra calories from holiday treats.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Council on Exercise; American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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