The 12 Days of Holiday Fitness (and Beyond)

Most of us don’t make fitness a priority during the holidays. We are busy, decorating, shopping, and preparing food for our jam-packed holiday calendar. We also look forward to spending time with family and friends, leaving little time for physical activity.

Instead of being a January 1st, ‘Fitness Resolutioner,’ delaying fitness/activity goals until the new year, why not start now? See my ‘12 Days of Holiday Fitness Tips’ for being active during the holiday and the new year:

Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.com.

Day 1: Develop a realistic plan and track you activity. Use a fitness tracker or write it down. Tracking progress motivates us to be more physically active and increase our activity levels.

Day 2: Commit to 15 minutes of daily activity of something you enjoy: walking, cycling, hiking, dancing, swimming, etc.

Day 3: Take a daily lunch break walk with a co-worker. Map a route outside, around your worksite’s parking lot or inside, in the hallways. Use the stairs instead of elevators.

Day 4: Holiday shopping? Park the car a distance from the store or mall. Take a lap around the parking lot or inside the mall before you start shopping. This will provide you with added energy for getting your shopping done. Use the stairs instead of escalators and elevators.

Day 5: Feeling tired, stressed and unmotivated? Ironically, physical activity boosts energy and relieves stress,  Find an ‘activity buddy’ to keep you motivated. My running partner and I text each other weekly to get a 30-minute run (or walk) on our calendars. 

Day 6: Hydrate! Carry a water bottle during your activity, especially if your outside. Proper hydration can generate heat to keep you warm.

Image from RawPixel.com. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Day 7: You’re halfway there! Add 5 minutes (or more) of physical activity to your day. You can do it!

Day 8: Plan an outdoor family and friends social activity. Ice skating, skiing or snowshoeing, hiking, or participating in an outdoor game keeps you active and reduces holiday stress.

Day 9: Traveling? Airports, train and bus stations are a great place to walk. After flying home from the Thanksgiving holiday, I walked 20 minutes around baggage carousels, waiting for my luggage. Also, forgo the ‘moving walkways’. You’ll burn more calories and strengthen your legs.

Day 10: Take a walk before or after a meal. I encourage my family (some members more than others) to take a walk after Thanksgiving dinner, before we indulged in dessert.

Day 11: Sign up for a local holiday walk/run. Organize a group and make it fun and wear holiday attire. Participating in a New Year’s Day walk/run is a great way to start the new year.

Day 12: Try a free group fitness class at a local community center or check out a discount gym in your area. Some gyms offer holiday specials that can fit into anyone’s budget.

With a plan and motivation, you can be physically active through the holidays and still have time for festivities. 

Happy Holidays!

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