The holiday season is unquestionably the most perilous time of year for dieters and exercisers. The endless supply of scrumptious treats that begin to appear at home, school, and the office at the end of October combined with extended visits to relatives and other disruptions to regular schedules is enough to throw even the most dedicated fitness buffs off their routine. By the time things settle down again, it’s two months and several extra inches around your waistline later.
Fortunately, there are some tried and true ways to ensure the holidays don’t undermine your hard-earned fitness progress. The key is to stay as active as possible, which you can do by following the tips we’ve collected here.
Know your fitness environment
Before traveling, take some time to research the fitness environment at your destination. You’ll likely discover that your hotel has a health center or swimming pool available to guests or that your brother-in-law has a decent home gym that will work in a pinch. If you’re headed somewhere warm, check out possible walking, cycling, or jogging trails near your accommodations. And don’t forget that bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, jumping jacks, planks, and more can give you an intense workout anywhere in the world without the need for bulky equipment.
Start active holiday traditions
One of the best ways to keep moving during the holidays is to involve the whole family in your activities. So instead of passing out on the couch in a food coma after Thanksgiving dinner, gather everyone in the yard or driveway for touch football, basketball, capture the flag, Red Rover, or other games. Seasonal recreations such as ice skating and sledding are suitable for all ages and are also fantastic ways to get the heart pumping. Make these activities a new holiday tradition to look forward to every year.
Gift yourself with fitness gear or accessories
If you find your enthusiasm for exercise flagging during the holidays, kickstart your motivation by gifting yourself with fitness gear or accessories. New workout clothes, the perfect Pilates DVD, a Cross-Fit box membership, sessions with a personal trainer, or even a Precor treadmill or elliptical for your home could be just what you need to get back on track.
Staying active during the holidays takes significantly more effort than at other times of the year, but is certainly an achievable goal—especially if you follow the tips above. Start mapping out your holiday fitness plan now so you’ll be fully prepared to work through the hectic times ahead.