Tips on Staying Active Throughout the Holiday Season
Published - Nov 28, 2023
Clinically reviewed by Daniel Wiltfong, LAT, ATC
Staying physically active during the holiday season can be a challenge given the hustle and bustle, tempting treats, travel and packed schedules. However, maintaining physical activity is important for both your physical and mental well-being. Here are strategies to help you maintain activity during this festive period.
1. Prioritize and Schedule Exercise: Plan workouts as you would any other commitment. Set realistic goals and schedule them in advance.
2. Embrace Short, Intense Workouts: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a time-efficient exercise method. Short bursts of intense exercise offer similar benefits to longer workouts (American College of Sports Medicine). Luckily, many streaming services offer on-demand wellness classes so that you can access a variety of fitness options from the comfort of your own home.
3. Incorporate Physical Activity into Daily Tasks: Take the stairs, walk during phone calls, or park farther from the entrance. Can you stretch during your lunch break or try some body weight movements during your favorite TV show? These small changes accumulate and contribute to staying active.
4. Involve Family and Friends: Organize group activities like family walks, hikes, or group exercise sessions. These can even be seasonal, such as skiing or skating. Social support positively influences exercise adherence (Journal of Behavioral Medicine).
5. Be Flexible and Adaptable: Try incorporating fitness where time and space allows. Not enough time to make a yoga class at your favorite studio? Try streaming a class at home through your television or computer. No hand weights? No problem! Try loading a backpack with books or soup cans. There are many accommodations you can make by just using what you already have.
6. Set Realistic Expectations: During the holidays, it’s crucial to set achievable goals. Instead of focusing on weight loss, aim to maintain your current fitness level. Realistic goals are important when sustaining motivation (International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition). Remember, food is fuel, and you should never feel guilty and like you need to work out just to “work off” what you ate. Enjoy the indulgences!
7. Get Adequate Rest: Not only does sleep optimize your energy levels for exercise, but rest is also essential for recovery. Most adults need seven or more hours of good-quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.
8. Monitor Stress Levels: High stress can deter physical activity. The holidays can be a stressful time for many and incorporating stress-reducing activities, like yoga or meditation, can help you stay on track.
With the holiday distractions, the goal should be to maintain consistency rather than perfection. With a mindful approach and strategic planning, it’s possible to stay physically active during the holiday season without compromising the festive spirit. Whether during the holidays or otherwise, IRG Physical & Hand Therapy can partner with you or your loved ones in becoming or staying active. We will work with you to identify ways to make movement accessible to you, regardless of your schedule.