Exercise can help you manage the impact of holiday indulgences and stress.
Holidays are festive — and hectic — times. Between family gatherings, shopping trips and decorating, it can be hard to squeeze in a workout. Yet it's important to keep physical activity on your daily to-do list during this fun — and often trying — time of year.
How it helps
- Exercise boosts mood. The mood-enhancing benefits of exercise can help you manage the mental stress of the holidays.
- Exercise burns calories. It can help you maintain a healthy weight — even after indulging in that large holiday meal. There's nothing like a walk after a carb-laden feast. In fact, one study found that taking a 20-minute walk after a meal helps lower blood-glucose levels in people with diabetes.
- Exercise can be fun. A game of badminton or horseshoes with guests can provide laughs and exercise. In winter in many parts of the country, the weather provides bonus activities to help you stay active, such as ice skating, skiing, sledding or snowshoeing.
- Exercise is a good way to spend time with your loved ones. Instead of sitting on the couch watching the game, get outside and play a game together or go for a walk.
How to fit it in
Stay active over holidays with these ideas
Cleaning the house is one way to build physical activity into your day. Burn calories by vacuuming and dusting, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors, decluttering the garage, or cleaning up the yard and scrubbing down the outdoor furniture. Once the house is clean, invite your friends and family over for a golf, tennis or bowling tournament using your fitness-oriented video-game system. Or set up outdoor games and enjoy your beautiful yard.
At community facilities
If you don't belong to your local fitness facility, ask if you can get a pass to try it out for a few hours. If you do have a membership, try something you don't usually do, such as a new class or different type of exercise equipment. Visit your local swimming pool to swim laps or your local indoor ice rink for a couple of hours of skating.
In the great outdoors
Around the holiday season, take a walk around your neighborhood to view the decorations. If the weather is agreeable, go for a hike at a local park or nature preserve. If you live near the ocean, take a walk along the beach. If it's snowing where you live, try sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or making a snow fort.
Making the effort to move regularly during a holiday weekend — or season — may seem like a challenging task to add to your growing to-do list. However, it will help you feel better and avoid weight gain, which could prevent added stress later on.
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