12 holiday fitness tips — just in time!

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Your Personal Trainer,
By Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM

Fitting regular exercise into your life can seem like a daunting task at times. Preparing for the upcoming holiday season can make it even more so. At this time of added stress and added caloric opportunities, exercise provides welcome benefits. In this season of gift-giving, exercise is the best gift you can give yourself–it is the gift that keeps on giving. As your busy schedule becomes even busier, your exercise routine may be low on your list of things to do and maybe postponed or neglected. You may not make it to the gym or out for your usual walk but, with a little creativity and fun, you can keep fit up to and through the holiday season.

Beginning today, there are twenty-three days until Christmas. You’ll be busy. You’ll be driving, sitting, writing letters and cards, calling friends and family, going to parties and plays, shopping online and on foot, and checking your calendar. Let’s face it, it will be hard to fit in some exercise everyday but how about every other day? That would be about twelve out of the next twenty-three days. Can you find twelve days of fitness between now and Christmas and have a little fun with a re-make of the well-known Christmas carol? It doesn’t have to rhyme or involve a partridge or a pear tree. Keep exercise and physical activity a priority and, when you’re too busy to workout, make your “busy-ness” your workout! Check your calendar and mark off twelve days to make exercise appointments with yourself and don’t let yourself down! Here are twelve days worth of ideas to keep you going through the holidays, whether it’s one of your regular workout days or one of those in between.

1. When you go to the mall, park at the opposite end from your destination. Get there a little early and walk a brisk lap or two around the mall before checking your list for stops.

2. Get up a little earlier and do some online shopping. Use the extra time to exercise. It’s amazing how much you can get done before the rest of the world wakes up!

3. Do you have stairs in your house? Go up and down them a few more times than you have to.

4. Walk around the local high school track. Use the time to plan a party. Take a note pad.

5. Walk around your neighborhood and look at the decorations. Get some ideas.

6. Take a visiting friend or relative to your gym or for a walk while you talk. Show them the local scenery.

7. If you’re standing in line with a shopping cart, do some toe raises while you wait. It may not be a ballet bar, but it works!

8. When you go to the airport to pick up friends or family, take the stairs, at least one direction.

9. If you’re going away, take your walking shoes and some resistance bands and pack your swimming suit just in case.

10. Take your company for a walk after dinner and have dessert when you come back…calories out, calories in!

11. Eat a healthy snack before going to a party and when you see that chocolate treat, pick it up and savor it, ever so slowly!

12. Where there’s a wall there’s a way. Face the wall and do some push-ups, turn sideways and do some shoulder stretches, face the wall again and do some calf stretches. It may not be a ballet bar, but it works!

Be good to yourself. Relax and enjoy your holiday traditions. This isn’t the time to diet or try to lose weight. Sometimes it’s hard to be more active, but if you can’t be more active, aim to be less sedentary! If you’re talking on the phone, don’t just sit there, get up and walk around! Even a ten minute walk can clear your mind and bolster your spirits. Make it your goal to not gain, but to maintain your weight and your fitness level. New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner!

Yours in fitness,

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM