While filled with fun events and joyful family gatherings, the holidays can also be busy, stressful, and filled with lots of indulging and little to no exercise. The truth is, however, that staying physically active can only benefit your holiday season, providing noticeable perks like:

  • Stress relief and improved mood
  • Increased immunity
  • Healthy weight management
  • Maintained muscle strength
  • Added structure to a daily routine

If you are in need of tips for staying motivated and keeping up with your regular fitness over the holidays, don’t miss this essential list:

Schedule Exercise

As your calendar fills up with holiday parties, volunteer events, family gatherings, and more, make sure to jot down windows of time for exercising too. Even better, set a reminder in your smartphone so that it alerts you when it’s time to get some steps in or practice your yoga routine.

Set Goals

Want to stay motivated to keep up with your fitness over the holiday season? Set realistic goals that you can work towards as the year winds down.

Maybe you can sign up for an athletic charity event like a 5k or walk-a-thon that takes place in the New Year. Or maybe you simply want to work to avoid gaining those extra holiday pounds. Whatever the goal, write it down, track your progress, and see that you achieve it.

Pack Smart

Don’t plan on excusing yourself from exercise just because you are traveling this holiday season. Many assistive fitness tools fit neatly into a small suitcase and can empower you to exercise no matter where you are – resistance bands, small foam rollers, your swimsuit, a yoga DVD… the list goes on!

Keep Up with Sleep

It’s hard enough to find the inspiration to hit the gym, much less when you are sleep deprived and exhausted. Don’t let hectic holiday schedules disrupt your normal sleep routine.

Stick with your regular bed and wake times as much as possible and lay down for short naps (30 minutes or less) when you are struggling.

Treat Yourself

Many women, especially family caregivers, end up giving so much of themselves around the holidays without asking for anything in return. Take this time to treat yourself to something you would love that also benefits your exercise goals.

Maybe it’s beautiful new workout clothes, wireless headphones so you can listen to your favorite music while you work out, or a piece of equipment that will keep you moving at home like a portable stair stepper or a set of resistance bands.

Address Pain

Do your joints ache more during the cold and damp holiday months? If pain is keeping you from staying active, you could be headed down a rabbit hole of worsening health. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage pain so you can exercise regularly. Who knows?

You could try conservative measures, like switching your exercise activity to be more low-impact, or consider wearing orthotic supports for nagging or persistent pain in the ankles, knees, and especially shoulders.

Stay Hydrated

Cold dry winter air naturally pulls moisture out of your skin (including your lips and nose) and if you are not drinking lots of water, you can easily become dehydrated and unable to successfully exercise.

Make sure to keep your water consumption up and eat water-rich holiday foods like stews, soups, and hot teas.

Exercise with Others

Taking care of yourself is so much more fun when you exercise with others! What are some fun holiday activities you can do with your friends, kids, or grandkids that will keep all of you moving?

A brisk winter hike, volunteering together at the animal shelter, or simply walking downtown to check out the store holiday windows are great ways to make memories and work out your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Just Move More

Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to fall into a neat little box of physical fitness. Turns out, simply moving more during the day can count as exercise.

Ten squats while cookies are baking, walking to the store instead of driving, lifting light weights while you watch your favorite holiday movie – the ideas are endless!

What are your top holiday fitness tips? Do you try and work out when you travel during the holidays? Please share some exercise routines you have tried yourself!

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