The holidays are filled with plenty of gingerbread cookies, peppermint mochas, and stress. If you find it hard to either start or maintain a health and fitness regimen during this time of the year, you're not alone. But with some planning, dedication, and flexibility, you can still look and feel your best in the wintertime. Here are eight tips for actually getting in shape over the holidays:
1. Identify roadblocks
Before embarking on a new diet or fitness routine, try to figure out what triggers you to miss a workout or indulge in junk food. Once you have identified roadblocks, you can come up with a plan to minimize their impact. For instance, if staying out late causes you to miss your early morning yoga class, try to go to bed at an earlier time or take an evening yoga class.
2. Get your steps in
If the idea of getting to the gym or scheduling time for an exercise class seems daunting, don't panic. Instead, focus on getting at least 10,000 steps daily. Use a fitness tracker, like FitBit, to track your steps. Try to walk whenever and wherever you can. Every step counts!
3. Sleep more
Are you getting the recommended seven-to-nine hours of sleep each night? If you're sleep-deprived, you won't have the energy to exercise, and you'll be more likely to overindulge in junk food. Set a sleep schedule and stick with it.
4. Find a workout buddy
If you tend to exercise alone, this might be an excellent time to partner up with a friend for accountability. Schedule a few days a week to hike, run, or go to the gym together.
5. Set a short-term goal
You don't have to wait until it's New Year's to begin setting goals. Pick one thing you want to work on for December and focus on achieving that goal. Examples include working out three days a week or training for a 5K marathon.
6. Workout in the morning
You should plan your workouts for the mornings during the holiday season, so you aren't distracted later on by parties, events, or other holiday activities. This will set you up for success.
7. Get creative
During the holidays, get creative with exercise and opt for fun ways to get your cardio in. This could involve taking new fitness classes and walking around the neighborhood with friends and family.
8. Don't indulge for the entire season
It's easy to overindulge around the holidays, especially when it's the season of parties. Make sure you don't allow treats to become staples. Instead of keeping treats in the house, be sure to give them away to coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family, so there isn't any temptation around.
Remember that no one's perfect
Getting and staying in shape during the holidays can be incredibly challenging. If you end up overindulging in a single day or skip some workouts, don't sweat it too much. The reality is that one day won't make or break your health and fitness plan. Just get back on the wagon, and don't let your one day of slipping up turn into a habit.
- "8 Secrets to Staying Fit During the Holidays," US News and World Report, November 20, 2015.
- "14 Simple Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays," Active, n.d.