The air is becoming crisper, the leaves are changing colors, and many stores already have Christmas decorations for sale in preparation for the holidays. But for those who have been working on improving their health and wellness, the upcoming holiday season may feel a bit stressful, as they don’t want to lose ground when it comes to their fitness.
7 Tips to Stay Fit During The Holidays
If you have been worried about staying fit and healthy throughout the holidays, here are seven tips that can help get you to the other side with minimal muss and fuss.
1. Create A Schedule With Some Wiggle Room
When the holidays are in full swing, your normal exercise routine can be thrown into chaos. With everything ranging from critical work projects to family holiday obligations to fulfill, it is challenging to find time to exercise. Luckily, most holiday parties and events are far from last-minute affairs.
So, say you have a child’s play to attend, your social group is having a holiday-themed party, and you have several late nights of work ahead of you, all in one week. Plot out the time these things realistically take up and create a workout schedule for that week.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend creating weekly exercise schedules—monthly ones are more effective, with workouts assigned to routine times and days on a weekly basis—but when you are in the midst of the holiday season, things need to remain flexible.
By remaining flexible and finding time for exercise in-between your other obligations, you can ensure that you make time to exercise.
2. Reject An “All Or Nothing” Mindset
Part of becoming more flexible—and consequently, less stressed—about your workouts is learning to reject an “all or nothing” mindset. This kind of mindset tells you that you have to stick to a rigid set of practices, or you have failed and should give up.
That is just ridiculous.
Just because you miss one or two workouts doesn’t mean you should quit trying to exercise until after the holidays. The same goes for eating habits over the holidays. So what if you ate some extra pie during that party? It doesn’t mean you can’t embrace healthier eating the next day.
3. Practice Mindful Eating Habits
To help you stay on track when it comes to your eating habits over the holidays, you may want to try and practice mindful eating habits. With mindful eating, you are engaged with what you are consuming and maintaining an awareness of how you feel, which can help prevent uncomfortable overeating. Some ways to start incorporating mindful eating habits are:
- Consider if you are actually hungry or if you are eating to achieve something else, like stress relief.
- Focus on the texture, tastes, smells, and appearance of the food or drinks you are eating.
- Appreciate the food as you eat. If it was homemade, be sure to compliment the maker.
- Eat your food slowly so that you can gauge when you are full.
- Avoid distractions while eating. Try not to snack while chatting so that you can remain aware of what and how much you are eating.
Now, this awareness isn’t to punish you, and you definitely should enjoy some holiday treats to avoid over-restriction. But by being more mindful of your food, you are better able to enjoy and prevent yourself from becoming painfully full.
4. Focus On Types Of Exercise You Love
To help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals, be sure to focus on the types of exercise you love during the holiday season. Hopefully, you are already engaged in workouts you enjoy, but we all do certain types of workouts for their benefits, not because we always love them.
For instance, I do not enjoy using my elliptical at home. I have run marathons, enjoy my treadmill workouts, but there is something about the elliptical that I can’t get behind. But my wife loves to put on whatever show she is currently watching and can power through an hour or more of elliptical exercise with no problem.
As sticking to your workout routine will be harder during the holiday season, you will be more motivated to find time to work out if you are doing the types of exercise you actually like.
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, And Definitely Hydrate
Staying properly hydrated throughout the holiday season can make a significant impact on your overall health. For one thing, having enough water is critical to your energy levels and overall brain functionality.
All the coffee and energy drinks are no match for the proper amount of water, which is what your body needs to function properly. But what is the right amount of water?
Well, the general rule is eight, 8-ounce glasses of water, which equals 2 liters or a half gallon. But most people don’t measure their water intake that closely. A good way to increase your hydration is to keep a sturdy water bottle with you and sip water throughout the day.
6. Prepare To Workout While Traveling
There is often travel associated with the holidays. When you travel over the holidays, it can be tough not to have your regular equipment or gym access. But with a little preparation, you can find ways to workout.
For one thing, if you exercise at a chain commercial gym, you may want to see if they have a branch of their gyms where you are traveling to this holiday season. If they do, be sure to check for a traveling pass. That way, you can easily work out while away. You can also figure out some workouts you can do with no equipment, like yoga and basic pilates, or just low equipment, such as running shoes and warm workout clothes.
7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Holiday Eating
Lastly, there are a lot of harmful food myths around the holiday season. There can be a lot of indulgent eating during the holidays, with many foods, drinks, and treats that we don’t tend to eat at any other time of the year.
Naturally, this celebratory eating can make people feel bloated and weighed down, as they are full of consumables in amounts they don’t normally indulge in. But these feelings don’t translate to actual weight gain.
According to research, over the holiday season, the average weight gain equaled 0.81 lbs (0.37 kg). While that can compound over time if left unchecked, gaining less than a pound is hardly worth beating yourself up over. So, be kind to yourself throughout the holidays and don’t give up on your healthy habits just because you overate a bit over the holidays.
By including these tips into your holiday schedule, you can help support your overall health and wellness throughout the holidays and go into January, still on track with your fitness goals.