The holidays get so hectic, amongst the already challenging days of 2020, that it’s easy to let your fitness goals slide. That’s a shame because the very benefits that exercise and good nutrition offer-more energy, better sleeping patterns, increased ability to focus throughout your day, stress relief, and a greater sense of balance-are the very things we need to get us through this busy time of the year! Fortunately, if you plan ahead a bit and employ some simple strategies, you can enjoy the holidays to their fullest, feel great doing it, and find yourself ahead of the curve come the New Year!
1) Make a plan. Keep a log and schedule your exercise routine as you would with any work appointment. Hold yourself accountable for a healthy lifestyle, or better yet, get a friend to be your accountability partner.
2) Start first thing in the morning. It’s always more difficult to motivate yourself to exercise after a long day when all you want to do is relax, and this is even more true at the holidays when there’s so much to do. Morning exercise will help start your day on the right foot, wake you up, and provide you with the energy to go!
3) Find a routine that’s flexible, efficient, and doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. Workouts such as the upper Body, lower Body, and total body circuits require only a little floor space, and use your body weight for resistance. An efficient workout won’t take up much of your time, and doesn’t require you to get to the gym to use the equipment, so no excuses! If you’re so inclined, incorporating Pilates or yoga a few times a week will help develop your balance and flexibility for a better-rounded program.
4) If you’re traveling, plan ahead. Pack your sneakers and fitness clothes first so you won’t be tempted to leave them behind. Download a few of your favorite workouts onto your laptop, tablet, or smartphone so that you always have them handy, even if you find yourself someplace without internet access.
5) Eating over the holidays calls for some strategy too. Watch out for sneaky, extra calories. Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks can carry anywhere from 80 to > 200 calories in a glass. Try to alternate with non-alcoholic beverages such as water or seltzer with lime. Walk away from the appetizers once you’ve selected a few so that you’re not tempted to keep grazing when you aren’t hungry.
6) Keep it in balance. You’re not doing yourself any favors by starving yourself prior to the holidays and then overindulging. Instead, eat small meals throughout the day to provide you with the energy you need such as greens, lean protein, fruits and healthy fats (i.e.: avocado).
Reviewed on December 14, 2020
Jessica Hettler is the director at the HSS Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center. She is a board-certified Sports and Orthopaedic Specialist and serves as faculty for the HSS sports residency program. She received a certificate of clinical competency in Aquatic Physical Therapy (CAPTCC) from the APTA and is a part of the HSS Hip Preservation Center.