As the days get shorter and the air develops a chill, it is only natural that we slow down. The combination of limited exercise and holiday snacks can be really hard on our waistline. Here are some tips on avoiding that holiday bulge.
Staying fit during the holidays takes vigilance and some savvy strategy. Everywhere you turn there are opportunities to indulge but never enough time to work it off. A gym membership isn't the only answer, though. There are ways to keep fit and control the deluge of calories that the season puts in your path.
Except in the very coldest weather, taking a walk can be a great way to clear your mind, stretch those under-used muscles and get a little cardio into your day. Find a walking buddy for some companionship, mental stimulation and that little bit of competitiveness that can add an extra mile to your route. "No, I'm not tired, are you?"
Whenever you get the chance, take the stairs! It's amazing how many calories you can burn in a day if you skip the elevator. Denizens of the 33rd floor need not apply, there's nothing healthy about arriving at your office drenched in sweat. If you have a reasonable climb, though, those stairs are pretty much what that Stairmaster at the gym is offering up.
When you're at home, try using the rest room on the other floor. That is, if you are on the ground floor, use the upstairs bath, and vice versa. Ranch model dwellers need not apply, I know. In the course of the day these climbs can make a difference. Do yourself two favors at once and increase your water consumption. Everybody wins!
Do you have a TV and a DVD player? That's all you need for in-home instruction in yoga or Pilates. This lets you learn (and fumble, I've got to be honest here) in private and progress at your own speed. Plus, you will save money because you won't need those trendy workout togs, either. There are some great instructional videos for every level, so don't think that you need a gym membership and live instructor just to learn the Sun Salutation.
That TV can serve double duty for exercise. If you have a Wii (or any game console, really) you can get a great workout with the Wii Sports game that comes with every unit. You will be shocked at how much you will sweat working your way through a single boxing match. And, believe it or not, tennis elbow is very common when playing Wii Tennis, so don't forget to stretch first!
Do you really, really need to get out of the house? Consider visiting your local YMCA gym. Most of them offer day passes, so you don't need to make a long-term commitment and can take advantage of the exercise equipment, pool and spa. Tell your friends that the YMCA has a strict "No Cell Phones" policy and really get some relaxation.
Holiday parties can be brutal. Food you would never touch, otherwise, becomes heaped on your miniature plate. Eating food with a tiny fork does not reduce the calories! Consider selecting proteins over carbs when available. The long-term impact on your waistline will be reduced. Instead of egg nog, maybe you can suggest a holiday sparkling punch made from seltzer water and pomegranate juice. It is very tasty, has fewer calories and won't tempt you to belt out a chorus of "Deck the Halls," which is a good thing.
So, enjoy the holiday season. With some of these strategies you could even enter the new year with a slender outline and healthy outlook on the world!