The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and indulgence. It’s a time when we gather with loved ones, share hearty meals and create fond memories. However, the season can also bring extra stress and numerous disruptions to your schedule.
While we celebrate and indulge in the festive spirit, maintaining good health and balance is key. We’ve highlighted a number of reasons why keeping up with exercise during the holiday season is essential, along with tips on how you can maintain your workout routine and balance your diet.
1. STAY IN JOLLY GOOD HEALTH
Indulging during the holiday season is a common occurrence, from sneaking extra candy during Halloween, enjoying a lavish Thanksgiving feast to sipping on additional servings of eggnog at holiday parties. The temptation to overindulge is everywhere.
Balancing a healthy diet during the holiday season can be quite the juggling act. With the average Thanksgiving meal piling up more food than we typically consume in one sitting, it’s no wonder that many find it challenging to maintain a balanced diet amidst the feasts and treats.
This is where the role of consistent holiday exercise comes into play. Incorporating regular workouts allows you the freedom to indulge occasionally without compromising your health and fitness objectives. Staying active allows you to maintain your routine, helping you stay on track for your fitness goals during the holiday season. After all, preserving your current fitness level is significantly more manageable than starting on a recovery journey post-holidays.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Short on time but want to burn a lot of calories? Try a high-intensity interval training workout or a HIIT Group Fitness Class. Many HIIT workouts can be done either in the gym or at home, so you can squeeze in a sweat no matter where you’re celebrating.
2. BEAT THE HOLIDAY STRESS
The holiday season, while joyful, often comes with its own set of stresses – from gift shopping and coordinating family trips to planning events. In the midst of this hustle, exercise emerges as a natural stress reliever, releasing endorphins that not only uplift your mood but also help maintain a calm and focused demeanor.
While it’s beneficial to stay active and ensure you keep your health a priority, the profound impact of exercise during the holidays extends beyond the physical.
It plays a large role in boosting emotional and mental well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, “virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.” Moving serves as a natural stress-reliever, elevating mood and emotional resilience, creating precious moments for reflection, strengthening family bonds, and providing quality time free from distractions.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Feeling extra worn out? Take a Yoga Group Fitness Class, which can help you release stress and embrace relaxation. And don’t forget, it’s okay to take a rest day! Rest days mean that you’re simply resting the muscles you’ve most recently worked on at the gym. Rest day activities could consist of a full-body Assisted Stretch Session, foam rolling or a low-impact cardio workout.
3. STAY ACTIVE AMIDST FESTIVITIES
With holiday festivities in full swing, maintaining regular routines can be a challenge, leading to decreased physical activity. Let’s face it, the holiday season unofficially extends from October through January. If you decide to hit pause on your exercise routine during this period, you risk losing four months’ worth of hard-earned fitness gains, falling victim to a process known as ‘detraining.’
A study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine underscores this point. The research revealed that taking even a two-week break from regular physical activity resulted in significant losses in muscle mass and strength. Although six weeks of retraining helped, the subjects couldn’t fully regain their previous fitness levels.
Incorporating exercise into your holiday schedule ensures that you remain active even during the busiest times of the season. It’s far easier to maintain your exercise routine than to take time off and assume you’ll jump back on the exercise bandwagon after New Year’s. Starting from scratch means rebuilding your exercise habit, which can be extra tough if you find yourself struggling to perform at your previous fitness level.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: The holidays may not be the best time to ramp up your exercise routine or hit new PRs. Instead, focus on maintaining your current level of fitness. Even cutting back on your exercise routine is better than stopping altogether. Check out these ideas for bite-sized workouts that you can complete when you’re feeling strapped for time!
4. GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF ME TIME
In a season dedicated to giving and caring for others, remember to carve out some ‘me time’ for yourself. Make your holiday workouts non-negotiable by scheduling them into your calendar and treating them with the same importance as any other appointment.
Maintaining life’s good habits often hinges on consistency. The foundation of building habits lies in repetition, yet the holidays, with their whirlwind of activities, can easily disrupt our well-established routines. This is particularly true when travel or hosting family comes into the picture, consuming a significant portion of our time and attention. When one habit slips, it can trigger a domino effect, causing other established habits to falter like a house of cards. For instance, abandoning your workout routine might lead to a lax approach to your diet as well.
However, a commitment to continuing your exercise regimen during this festive period can be a saving grace. It not only anchors you to a familiar and comforting routine but also fosters an environment where making other healthy choices becomes natural.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Traveling during the holidays? Try at-home workouts that will make you sweat even when you can’t make it to your gym.
5. ENJOY FESTIVE TREATS GUILT-FREE
Balancing a nutritious diet with holiday indulgences can be a challenge. While exercise helps you manage your calorie intake, allowing you to enjoy your favorite festive dishes without worrying about overindulging, there are also ways to manage your diet without feeling deprived!
- Enjoy your favorite holiday dishes, but be mindful of portion sizes. Use smaller plates to help control your servings.
- Pay attention to the flavors, textures and aromas of the holiday dishes. Eating slowly and savoring each bite can help you appreciate the meal more and recognize when you’re satisfied.
- Opt for healthier options when available. Load up on vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains before reaching for sweets and fatty foods.
- If you want to savor desserts, share them with a friend or family member. This way, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it.
6. HAVE MORE ENERGY OVER THE HOLIDAYS
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to feel drained and fatigued with all the late-night parties, travel and preparations. It’s more common than you think– 68% of respondents to the APA survey admitted to feeling fatigued sometimes or often during the holidays. One of the best ways to manage holiday stress and fatigue is to… you guessed it, exercise! As counterintuitive as it sounds, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can be the key to keeping your energy levels soaring during this festive time. Harvard Health Publishing explains that exercise spurs the cells in your muscles to produce more mitochondria, which can create more fuel for your body. Regular physical activity not only increases blood flow but also triggers the release of endorphins, those feel-good hormones that provide a natural energy boost. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk, a quick workout or even a fun winter activity, exercise oxygenates your body, revives your spirits and ensures you have the vitality needed to fully enjoy all the festivities the holiday season has to offer.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Struggling to balance exercise time with family time? Ask your family to join in. Get fit as a family by taking family walks, bringing family members to the gym or trying a Group Fitness Class together.
7. SAY GOODBYE TO HOLIDAY BLUES
The constant whirlwind of events can lead to holiday burnout. Many people experience physical and mental fatigue and are overwhelmed during the holiday season. It occurs as a result of the numerous demands and pressures associated with the holidays.
The holiday season also coincides with the shortest days of the year. All that extra darkness can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects approximately 10 million Americans.
Exercise is a valuable tool for preventing holiday burnout. It reduces stress, boosts energy levels, enhances mood, promotes better sleep, provides a space for self-care, strengthens physical resilience and maintains a sense of routine. By making exercise a priority during the holiday season, you can better manage stress, stay mentally and physically well and truly savor the festive moments without experiencing the holiday blues.
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Need help with motivation to exercise? Recruit a workout buddy to join you at the gym or make a pact with a friend to work out a certain number of days a week. EōS Fitness offers Complimentary 7-Day Passes so you and a friend can try it out together!
8. CREATE A HEALTHY FAMILY TRADITION
Incorporating exercise into your holiday routine sets a positive example for your family and friends. Plus, engaging in physical activities as a family creates opportunities for shared experiences. Whether it’s going for a family walk or participating in a holiday-themed charity run, these activities provide moments of togetherness that can strengthen family bonds.
If you have a competitive family, healthy family competition through exercise can be a fun and engaging way to bond as a family. Whether you’re competing in a game of touch football or a friendly race, the spirit of competition can lead to laughter and bonding. It also provides opportunities for celebrating each other’s achievements, regardless of who comes out on top.
Best of all, engaging in physical activities creates memorable moments–which is what the holidays are all about!
Fitness tips for the holiday season: Variety keeps things interesting. Try different types of exercises like dancing or winter sports to prevent workout boredom.
TYPES OF EXERCISES FOR A HOLIDAY WORKOUT
Now that you’re motivated and armed with the best reasons for staying fit during the holidays, let’s explore some enjoyable types of exercises you can incorporate into your holiday workout routine:
Create a cozy corner in your home for quick workouts. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups and planks require minimal equipment and space. You can find plenty of guided workouts online to follow along. With an EōS Black/Platinum Membership, you get unlimited access to 100+ on-demand Les Mills workouts.
If you’re celebrating the holidays somewhere snowy, take advantage of winter activities like skiing, sledding or ice skating. These activities not only burn calories but also embrace the holiday spirit.
Yoga and Mindfulness
The holiday season can be hectic, so don’t forget to take a moment for yourself. Practice yoga or meditation to stay grounded and maintain your mental well-being.
Dancing is a fantastic way to get your heart rate up while having a blast. Whether you’re dancing to holiday tunes or just grooving to your favorite songs, it’s a joyful way to stay active.
Group Fitness Classes
Joining a Group Fitness Class with others who share your fitness goals can be motivating and enjoyable. EōS locations offer a diverse array of classes throughout the week, ensuring you have ample opportunities to inject variety and excitement into your holiday fitness routine.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Exercising during the holidays isn’t about depriving yourself of festive joys but rather finding a balance between celebration and maintaining your health. By embracing holiday exercise, you can combat stress and enjoy a healthier and happier holiday season. So, this year, make working out during the holidays a tradition and savor the many benefits it brings to your life.
Also, holiday physical activity will make it so much easier to hit new fitness goals in the New Year. Check out more tips for holiday workouts and sign up for a Complimentary 7-Day Pass at an EōS Fitness near you.