Busy schedules, tasty food, party hosting, valued time with friends and family, decorating, gift wrapping, baking traditions…and continuing to take care of your health. Somehow, the health aspect of our lives often gets pushed to the end of the list at this wonderful time of the year. How about taking some time to plan ahead so that you can carve out space for exercise.
Exercise may be harder in the winter because of colder weather and snowy or icy pavement for those used to using the great outdoors as their gym. Or the colder weather and shorted days may decrease your motivation to get in your car and drive to the gym. Further, motivation decreases when eating sweet, heavy, comfort food that we crave this time of year. If you can keep up even a modified exercise routine, this will help to keep cravings at bay and manage this stressful time of year.
You don’t need to go out and hire a personal trainer today. That might be better saved for early next year when you have a little more time after the holidays. However, you can start by walking either on a treadmill or bundled up outside with good shoes that have a softer rubber sole to give better traction on slippery surfaces. For added stability, use walking poles. For deeper snow, try snowshoeing. Start with 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week. If you have more time, walk for longer. Continue or start a daily stretching regimen that addresses all muscle groups.
If you aren’t keen on exercising alone, invite a friend or neighbor, co-worker, your partner or kids to join you. Look into fitness classes at your gym or local fitness or community center. The social support can help maintain motivation. Keep your focus on getting and staying healthy, not on losing weight.