The holiday season can cause many of us to eat a little too much, or to miss a few too many workouts. Here are some great solutions and simple tips on how to burn off some of those celebratory calories. Whether it be travelling, parties, cooking or company-we CAN burn them off.
1. Do Your Home Work
The scenario: A festive cookie exchange at the office causes you to miss your training session, company’s coming tonight, and the house is a mess.
Lucky you! Housework is the best way to fit in a workout without even knowing it. Scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming … they all burn calories.
Even cooking fires up the calorie furnace, especially if you’re moving around the kitchen. So put on perky music and boogie down while you bake.
2. Shop Until You Drop — Pounds!
Use shopping as exercise, too. The best thing about going to the mall is all the walking. That translates into a calorie burn. To maximize that burn, carry your own holiday packages, unloading them after every stop. If you’re going to buy something at 10 different shops, go out to your car between each store. To encourage yourself to make those multiple trips to the parking lot or to take the mall stairs instead of elevators. Try wearing a pedometer. A pedometer really encourages you to … get moving! You have to go shopping, so you might as well get a workout as you’re doing it!
Keep your pace brisk and you can burn 250-300 calories an hour.
3. Get on the Ball
When it’s too cold to be outside, get bouncy inside — and strengthen your core muscles — with exercise balls. Exercise balls, also known as fitness balls and balance balls, are large vinyl balls in various diameters ranging from 18 inches to 3 feet.
Your workout with an exercise ball can be as easy — and fun — as sitting on the ball and bouncing lightly to gently work your core muscles (the muscles surrounding your trunk and pelvis). A ball workout can also be pulse-pounding, if you use your ball as a prop for crunches, pushups, leg lifts, or squats.
Too pooped to prop? You can even burn a few calories simply sitting on the ball and working to maintain your balance.
4. Walking Is a Winner
For most of us, walking is the easiest way to burn a few extra calories during busy times.
The trick (after a good warm-up) is to keep your pace strong. Try power walking, high-stepping, or climbing stadium stairs. Such activities fire up major muscle groups like the quads and gluteals.
Recruiting more muscle fibers during a workout is like stoking a fire … the embers burn for a longer period. That means even when you’re lounging by the fire later, you’ll still be burning away extra calories. If you keep up a moderate walking pace, expect to burn 250-300 calories hourly.
5. Do a Good Deed
Combine a few of our calorie-burning tips — shopping, cooking, walking — and do a good deed in the process.
You can gently increase holiday season activity by making goodies for your neighbors, then taking a brisk stroll around the neighborhood to drop off your homemade gifts.
Or burn up to700 calories an hour participating in a holiday fund-raising race, or the Portland Sunset Challenge Walk/Run in December.
Locate all kinds of races near you at www.coolrunning.com. Good deeds and a good body — what a gift!
6. Travel Your Way Trim
When the temptations at home are just too great, escape them by getting away for the holidays. Get away for a ski trip, go ice-skating — go do the things you’re always wanting to do anyway. Even getting from here to there provides opportunities to burn calories. If you have to travel, be sure to wheel your own bags, only take what you can carry on, and lift the bags yourself. And don’t forget to walk, walk, walk. Walk between terminals, take the stairs, stroll between gates while you wait. Even if you’re on the moving walkway – walk!
7. Sit Tight and Work Out
Every holiday includes downtime when family or friends gather around the television for a parade, a game, or a favorite old movie. Why not use that time to burn a few calories?
Instead of sitting with your full butt on the couch, get to the end of your seat and bend your legs up off the floor, hands on the seat to give you balance, and do crunches.
Get your triceps trim by doing dips off the edge of the couch (or airport seat), firming your thighs with seated leg lifts, and building biceps by grabbing a water bottle and doing curls.
8. Maximize Motivation With More People
Keep your motivation at a peak. Attend a group fitness class, such as one of our Group Training classes at Your Personal Best or one of our fun Semi groups. Being in a group can really help motivate you.
A bonus: Workouts with loved ones not only keep everyone’s calorie counts in check, but exercising together can help build stronger relationships, too.
9. Play Outdoors:
Want something more free-form? If you are fortunate enough to go somewhere for the holidays that has snow get a group of friends and family to join you outside for an hour of making snow angels, sledding, searching for the last colorful leaves, hiking, or ice-skating.
10 . Here’s a bonus holiday fitness tip:
Just set a goal. Having a specific objective is a great way to motivate. Share your plan and goals with your primary care doctor. Set goals for how many workouts you want to get in during the week. Even if it’s fewer than you usually do during the rest of the year, be sure to reward yourself for meeting your objectives.
So How Much Exercise Do You Need?
Instead of tackling a weight loss regimen over the holidays, most experts suggest you simply aim for maintenance.
To stay in a steady weight state, get 30 minutes of moderate activity daily. You can rack up that 30 minutes throughout the day. Go for a 10-minute walk in the morning, play actively with your kids in the afternoon, then walk the dog before dinner, and you’re there.
With the holiday hustle and bustle upon us, remember that staying fit during this time is not as hard as you may think. You don’t have to suffer to get fit, just get up and move!
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