How to work activity into your busy holiday schedule

While it may not be the best time to set outstanding fitness goals, it’s still a great idea to work physical activity into your busy holiday schedule. Perhaps the most important element is to avoid the “all or nothing” mindset and, instead, focus on accumulating bits of activity during the course of each day. The consistency of doing “a little bit a lot” goes a long way to keeping you fit. We don’t want to sacrifice valuable time spent with family and friends, but we’ll have more energy for these activities if we keep moving during this period typically viewed as a time of indulgence.

To assist in planning, here are 5 simple ideas to keep active during the holiday season:

1) When you wake up in the morning, do a 2-3 full-body stretches before you get out of bed. Reach out long 3 times, stretching your torso, arms and legs. Point and flex your feet 5-10 times. Sitting on the side of your bed, do a few ankle circles, neck stretches and shoulder rolls.

2) Got 10 minutes? Take a short walk after breakfast, lunch or dinner — or all three. This alone would total 30 minutes of walking. Do it most days of the week. Incorporate walking into other errands you’re completing. Park further away from the shopping centre’s entrance, take extra laps at the mall, and use the stairs rather than the escalator.

3) If you’re travelling over the holidays, planning ahead can make all the difference. Take some time to figure out what your options are so you’re ready for anything. Search for walking, running or park trails nearby; look up information about the hotel you’re staying at and find out if they have an exercise room; if you’re staying with family, ask if they have any fitness equipment. If you’re a member of a fitness club, such as GoodLife, seek out the location closest to you on your travels and squeeze in a fitness class or two.

4) If you’re watching a television program, why not incorporate some movement? If you have equipment such as resistance bands or free weights, sneak in a couple sets in front of the TV. If you don’t have equipment, pick up some full water bottles or soup cans for quick lateral raises or overhead presses. Something is always better than nothing.

5) You can use a wall for some quick strength training exercises. For upper body strengthening, do 10-15 push-ups against the wall for increased support. Then turn around, lean back against the wall and do 10-15 wall slides or “wall sits” (make sure to plant your feet securely away from the wall so that when you slide down, your knees stay over your ankles and do not go beyond your toes). This will strengthen your lower body.

It’s hard enough to exercise when little is going on, but add holidays to the mix and many of us find exercise moving to the bottom of lengthy to-do lists. It’s not a good idea to set unrealistic fitness or diet goals during the Holiday season. At the same time, staying active in some way will give you energy, help lessen holiday tension and, of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories you may be eating. The most important thing is to be realistic and go easy on yourself. You aren’t always in charge of your schedule during the holidays so you should feel proud of every small effort made.

GoodLife Fitness is making it easier for you to stay healthy and enjoy life — even during the Holidays. Special offer for CARP members (age 45+) — up to 50% off membership rates! To get started with your GoodLife Fitness membership, please call 1-800-363-9736. Don’t wait until the New Year to take advantage of this valuable member benefit!

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